Thin Films and Physics of Nanostructures

Research: Spectroscopy of surfaces and interfaces

The main goals of our work are the basic understanding of magnetism and spin dependent electronic transport in thin films and naostructures, the development of optimized magneto- and spinelectronic devices and new methods for the creation of magnetic nano patterns.

A profound characterization of physical properties of the samples is required to achieve this. Especially the structural and electronic properties of the key components have to be determined. These components are: magnetic thin films, ultra thin insulators and the interfaces between them.

My research field includes transport measurements, e.g., temperature and magnetic field dependent current-voltage characteristics and dielectric stressing. I investigate the structure by X-ray diffraction and Auger electron spectroscopy based depth profiling, direct measurements of the electronic properties by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and, notably, the measurement of element specific magnetic and electronic bulk and interface properties utilizing X-ray absorption spectroscopy including X-ray magnetic circular and linear dicroism.

Please send general emails to Jan Schmalhorst (

Bachelor- and Masterthesis

Research is moving on every day, please contact me directly via email ( to ask for the latest opportunities for bachelor's and master's theses. Here, you can find the last presentation of the group's topics

PhD and PostDoc positions

All open positions can be found here.

Publications of Jan Schmalhorst can be found here.


Jan Schmalhorst
Dr. Jan Schmalhorst studied physics at Bielefeld University. Before he has come back to university in 1998, he worked for a surface science company. Currently, he is the a senior scientist in the "Thin films and Physics of Nanostructures" group at Bielefeld University, his main area of research is the characterization of magnetic thin-films by synchrotron radiation. Furthermore he is the coordinator of the Department of Physics for the new laboratory buiding of the Experimental Physics and the refurbishment of the University main building. He has been the organizer of the Herbstakademie Physik since 2005 with currently more than 500 attending pupils from high school every year.