The majority of members of the Faculty of Physics are currently concentrating on two main research areas. One is magnetic interactions in hybrid systems in which magnetic molecules are combined with other materials. If the molecules are combined with magnetic films, graphene and carbon nanotubes for example, spin properties are created which cannot be achieved by the single components alone and offer major potential for future technologies.

The second focus of research is on non-­equilibrium in condensed matter. Different methods are used to produce optical, electronic or phononic excitations, which very compactly follow the dynamics of non-equilibrium. In this context, compact means that the processes take place in the femtosecond or nanometre range. Research into the underlying dynamics uses a combination of experi­mental and theoretical methods to work towards a unified understanding of non-equilibrium. The research groups work with established experts from other research institutions in both priority areas.

After its successful launch, the Energy Science programme is now entering its second round. The first graduates have very positive reports of their time spent abroad, which is an important element of the course, and are soon to embark on the Master’s programme.

The freestyle-physics competition has been visited by 22,000 school students over the past 13 years, making it a highly visible success nationwide. This has prompted Stiftung Mercator to provide a further three years of financial support to the Faculty of Physics with hosting the competition. After visiting the campus, the budding scientists return to their home towns as multipliers and help to raise the profile of the University of Duisburg-Essen.