Table of Contents


A diary of some remarkable events at the IAP and beyond …

Gaede-Prize for Gareth Parkinson

2018-March-13 Gareth receives the Gaede Prize


Avoiding the Polar Catastrophe

The labyrinth is the way out 2018-Feb-02

* Ionic crystals - materials that are composed of positively and negatively charged ions - can be put into a highly unfavorable situation. When split in half along certain crystallographic directions the electrostatic energy diverges. To alleviate this so-called polar catastrophe, materials can react in a variety of ways. In a recent paper, Martin Setvin and co-workers from the Surface Physics group and from the University of Vienna show the surface of a KTaO3(001) single crystal after cleaving, heating, and exposure to water vapor. Six different mechanisms to compensate polarity are encountered. One of the most pretty solutions, a nano-labyrinth with 4-5 atom-wide walls, is shown in the image on the right.

The article in Science ⋅ TU Press release in English and German
Media coverage: die PresseAPAWelt der Physik

Loschmidt-Prize for Elisabeth Gruber

Award Ceremony at Univ. Wien 2018-Jan-23

* One week after recieving the Hannspeter Winter Award from TU Wien, Elisabeth Gruber was awarded the next prize: Elisabeth Gruber is one of two recipients of this year's Loschmidt Prize. This prize is awarded annually by the Austrian Chemical Physics Society CPG for an outstanding PhD thesis. Elisabeth Gruber received her doctorate in 2017 under the guidance of Prof. Friedrich Aumayr; her thesis is entitled “Interaction of Ions with 3D and 2D materials”. Dr. Gruber is currently a post-doc at Aarhus University. Congratulations!

"JSPS 141st Committee Award" for Peter Varga

Peter Varga 2017-Dec-4

* During the opening ceremony of the ALC'17 conference in Kauai/Hawaii today Peter Varga received the Award of the 141st Committee on Microbeam Analysis of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Sciences (JSPS) for (quote) ”… his distinguished contribution on the clarification of surface phenomena by atomic level investigation and the development of novel functional materials”! Congratulations, Peter!

Hannspeter Winter award 2017 for Elisabeth Gruber

Elisabeth Gruber 2017-Nov-13

* The Hannspeter Winter Award, named after our former institute director, was established at the TU Wien in 2007 and honours achievements in research in PhD projects by female graduate students. It also aims to increase awareness of notable achievements of women in the field of research and technology. The prize is awarded annually and this year our institute is proud to announce that it has been awarded to Dr. Elisabeth Gruber who recently finished her PhD thesis under the supervision of Fritz Aumayr. Congratulations Elisabeth! The award ceremony will take place on Jan. 19th, 2018 at 1 pm in the Kuppelsaal of TU Wien.

Kardinal Innitzer Award for Gareth Parkinson

Gareth Parkinson at the Palace of the Austrian Arch Bishop 2017-Nov-11

* For his outstanding habilitation thesis, Gareth Parkinson is awarded the 'Förderpreis' of the Kardinal Innitzer Studienstiftung. The award ceremony took place at the formidable Episcopal Palace, located in the center of Vienna. Gareth's family came all the way from England to celebrate.

Markus Valtiner wins AVS Peter Mark Memorial Award

Don Baer, Head of the AVS Award Committee with Awardee Markus Valtiner 2017-Nov-01

* Each year the AVS awards one outstanding young scientist the 'Peter Mark Memorial Award, named for the Editor of the Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology. This year our new professor, Markus Valtiner, has received this high recognition “For advancing understanding of physical and chemical mechanisms at molecular, nano- and microscales that impact adhesion and friction at electrified interfaces and for the development of novel stimuli-responsive materials”. Congratulations, Prof. Valtiner!

Ille C. Gebeshuber declared "Austrian of the Year 2017 (Category Research)"

Ille Gebeshuber 2017-Sep-25

* During the Austria'17 Gala yesterday Ille Gebeshuber was declared “Austrian of the Year 2017 in the Category Research”. Our congratulations to the proud winner!

Applied Interface Physics - a new research area at IAP

Valtiner group 2017-Oct-01

* With the arrival of Professor Markus Valtiner and the first members of his team today, a new research area is being established at IAP. Welcome to Vienna and welcome to the IAP! A portrait of new professor (in German) can be found here

The solution to an old riddle

ICD 2017-Sep-08

* For more than 20 years atomic physicists have speculated about the mechanism, which allows “hollow atoms” to deexcited with a few femtoseconds. Experiments conducted by Atomic and Plasma Physics Group of Fritz Aumayr with highly charged ions and graphene now show that the reason is an effect so far not accounted for: the so-called “interatomic coulomb decay”. Their results have now been published in the journal “Physical Review Letters” and have been highlighted there as “editors' suggestion”.

Link to original publication in PRL
Press release of TU Wien in German, in English
media coverage: Der Standard,

Tenure for Gareth Parkinson

2017-September-01 Gareth and his research group

Habilitation for Stijn Mertens

2017-July-10 Stijn Mertens

Newly appointed Senior Scientist at IAP

Senior Scientist Dr. Mario Brameshuber


* Since July 1st, 2017 Dr. Mario Brameshuber supports the Biophysics Research Area as Senior Scientist.

"Best Lecture Award 2017" in physics goes to Fritz Aumayr, Martin Müller and Wolfgang Werner

Best Lecture Award 2017 logo


* The course “Grundlagen der Physik I” (Fundamentals of Physics I) taught by Fritz Aumayr, Martin Müller and Wolfgang Werner received the “Best Lecture Award 2017” of the Faculty of Physics in a ceremony held today at TU Wien. The prize consisting of a trophy, a certificate and 5000 Euros to be spent on new teaching equipment was awarded for the first time and and honors excellence in teaching.

Press release of TU Wien (in German),YouTube Video

Florian Laggner leaves for Princeton

(c) die Presse 2017-May-20

* After finishing his PhD in the Atomic and Plasma Physics Group Florian Laggner is now heading for Princeton (New Jersey - USA) to start his PostDoc in Fusion research on June 1, 2017 at the prestigeous Princeton University. But before he left, he gave an interview to the Austrian Newspaper Die Presse (in German).

A new face in our administrative team!

Katharina Pois 2017-May-17

Promotion "sub auspiciis" for Roland Bliem

2017-May-16 Dr. Roland Bliem

TU press release (in German) der standard Tiroler Tageszeitung

Switching Oxygen Molecules On and Off

2017-March-14 The qPlus sensor with the tip at the left

Publication in PNAS
TU Press Release in English and German
Media Coverage: APA · Der Standard · ORF · MyScience ·

Eva Sevcsik receives Elise Richter Fellowship

Dr. Eva Sevcsik


* The Elise Richter Fellowship by the FWF provides research funds to support the academic career of highly qualified female scientists and scholars and to enhance their university career. Dr. Eva Sevcsik was officially awarded the fellowship by the president of the FWF, Klement Tockner, and the department head of the Ministry of Science, Research and Economy, Barbara Weitgruber, earlier this year. The project titled “Lipid Interactions of the T-Cell Receptor Complex” was started in April 2017 in the Biophysics group of Prof. Gerhard Schütz and in close collaboration with the Medical University of Vienna.

Molecule flash mob

CSM flashmob 2017-Jan-19

Link to original publication in Nature Communications, Press release of TU Wien (in German), Press release of TU Wien (in English), Press release of MedUni Wien (in German)

Elisabeth Gruber hits the TU headlines for the second time in this year!

Elisabeth Gruber 2016-Dec-21

Link to original publication in Nature Communications, Press release of TU Wien (in German), Press release of TU Wien (in English),, Der Standard, APA Press release of HZDR (in German)

Habilitation Gareth Parkinson

Gareth Parkinson 2016-October-03

Kathi Dobes selected as “FEMtech Female Expert of the Month”

Katharina Dobes (© Klaus Ranger - Evotion) 2016-September-24

Meteorite Impact on a Nano Scale

HCI-surface interaction 2016-August-29

do a lot of damage; it may travel a long way, carving a trench into the ground until it finally penetrates the surface. The impact site may be vaporized, there can be large areas of molten ground. All that remains is a crater, some debris, and an extensive trail of devastation on both sides of the impact site.

Hitting a surface with high-energy, heavy ions has quite similar effects – only on a much smaller scale. In a recent publication researchers from the IAP Atomic and Plasma Physics Group have investigated the microscopic structures which are formed when ions are fired at crystals at oblique angles of incidence and could shed light on the underlying formation mechanism.

Link to original publication. Press release of the TU Wien (in German), Press release of the TU Wien (in English), ORF, APA article Der Standard

We welcome our new electronics technician!

2016-Aug-16 H. Zlabinger

The Pairing and Separation of Pt Atoms

2016-July-28 A Pt dimer at the Fe<sub>3</sub>O<sub>4</sub> surface

Original Publication
TU press release APA der standard Tiroler Tageszeitung

We welcome our new secretary!

2016-July-1 D. Harantova

Making it Stick on the Cover of Nature


Christian Doppler Award for Roland Bliem

2016-June-17 LR Martina Berthold, Daniel Rettenwander, Roland Bliem (

Salzburger Nachrichten
Aktuelles TU Wien

Ille Gebeshuber returns from Malaysia

2016-April-1 Prof. Ille C. Gebeshuber

Herbert Störi awarded with "Ehrenbürgerschaft der TU Wien"

Herbert Störi awared with "honorary citicenship of TU Wien" 2016-March-1

TU Webnews (in German)

Zbynek Novotny receives Loschmidt Prize

Zybnek Novotny (4th from left 2016-January-19

TU Webnews (in German)

Thank you Herbert!

Prof. Herbert Störi


Herbert, we all are very grateful for your work! Thank you very much!

Pole dancing water molecules - Paper in Nature Materials

A pole dancing water molecule (Animation, click twice)


The paper
TU press release in English or German
APA der Standard

Fritz Aumayr - Full Professor of Ion and Plasma Physics

Prof. Friedrich Aumayr 2015-Dec-1

Curriculum Vitae
Research Group of Fritz Aumayr

"Follow me around" video of the faculty of physics

The Catalytic Cycle 2015-Nov-2

"Follow me around video" (in German)

Blaise Pascal Medal

Prof. Nick Serpone awards the metal to Ulrike Diebold 2015-Oct-28

Platinum Catalysts: Better with Support

The Catalytic Cycle 2015-September-10

The paper
TU press release in English or German · APA release · "Die Presse" newspaper article

Hertha Firnberg Award for Margareta Wagner

Margareta Wagner 2015-June-30

START Prize awarded to Gareth Parkinson

Gareth Parkinson 2015-June-08

TU press release (German)

No Molecular Rafts in Membranes of Living Cells

Eva Sevcsik in the Biophysics Lab 2015-April-21

Article in Nature Communications
TU press release in English and German
Media coverage: Austrian Press Agency (APA) · der Standard

Ulrike Diebold Elected to Membership in the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina


TU press release (German)

Superresolution Microscopy of Mitochondria

Gerhard Schütz at the Laser of the Superresolution Microscope 2014-December-22

Article in PNAS
TU press release (German)
Media coverage: APA · der Standard

Surface Structure of an Iron Oxide Unraveled

Magnetite crystal structure 2014-December-05

Article in Science
TU press release
Media coverage: ORF Science · Die Presse · der Standard · Salzburger Nachrichten

Two Awards for Ulrike Diebold

Eminent Visitor Award Scroll 2014-November-21

TU press release.

Nanoantennas from Femtosecond Laser Pulses

nano-antenna 2014-June-2

Link to original publication.
Press release of the TU Wien (in German), Der Standard

Austrian National Academy of Sciences Elects Ulrike Diebold as Full Member


List of all new ÖAW members.
der Standard

Stop! In the Name of Carbon

HCI-surface interaction 2014-April-18

Link to original publication.
TU press release (in German), TU press release (in English), HZDR press release
APA article Der Standard Silicon Saxony

A Two-dimensional Electron Gas

Stefan, Bernhard and Zhiming at Bessy


The results were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Link to original publication
TU press release APA article der standard die Presse

Portrait of Professor Gerhard Schütz

Gerhard Schütz 2014-Jan-31

Lise Meitner Lecture

Lise Meitner Lecture Flyer 2013-Nov-08

Vacancies Marching to the Top

STM image of oxygen on an anatase surface 2013-Sep-02

Abstract with link to full text
TU press releasePrinceton press releaseyoutube video
Articles in the media: Article in Chemical & Engineering Newsder Standard (German)ORF (German)

Visit by Minister Töchterle

Group photo with Minister Töchterle 2013-Jul-04

TU press release

Wittgenstein Prize for Ulrike Diebold

Press Conference with Minister Töchterle 2013-Jun-17

Press releases: FWF englishgerman
Media coverage: ORFder Standarddie PresseKurierWiener Zeitung

The Dance of the Atoms

The Fe3O4 experts at the STM 2013-Jun-10

The article in Nature Materials (subscription required)
TU press release englishgermanyoutube video
Media coverage:

Ulrike Diebold receives Adamson Award from the American Chemical Society

Adamson Medal


Adamson Award · TU press release (in German)

Fritz Aumayr appointed as new director of the Austrian nuclear fusion research program

Fritz Aumayr 2013-Jan-16

Stijn Mertens joins the Surface Physics Group

Stijn 2012-November-01

This week's cover story in the PROFIL magazine

PROFIL 08.10.2012 2012-Oct-08

Nanostructuring surfaces with highly charged ions

HCI-surface interaction 2012-Sep-18

EFDA News: Picture of the week (September 2012)

EFDA Picture of the week 2012-Sep-04

Zbynek Novotny attends Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates


Click here for more information about the Lindau meetings

Ulrike Diebold elected to the Austrian Academy of Sciences


Press release of the ÖAW
Press release of the TU Wien

Single Gold Atoms

STM image of gold on magnetite

Press release of the TU Wien
APS Physics article
Chemical&Engineering News article
Articles in the media: ORF Science, Wiener Zeitung, der Standard, Deutschlandradio,, nanowerk, …

ERC Advanced Grant for Ulrike Diebold

ERC logo

Press release of the TU Wien
Newspaper article in "Der Standard"
Newspaper article in "Die Presse"
Further online article

Ulrike Diebold Divisional Associate Editor of PRL

Ulrike Diebold. Photo (C): Matthias Heisler, WIT Projekt TU Wien 2012-Jan-13

New Doctoral College'SolidFun'


Post-Prof. Peter Varga

Post-Professor Peter Varga 2011-Sep-30

Ulrike on stage at the opera

Ulrike Diebold giving a plenary talk at the ECOSS-28 in Wrocław 2011-Sep-01

Newly appointed professor of biophysics

Professor Gerhard J. Schütz 2011-Jul-01

New research program on oxides

Research topics in the SFB 2011-Mar-15

Archive of Previous IAP News (2006-2010)