Experimental and theoretical research carried out at the Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics is primarily focussed on solid state phenomena that are determined by small dimensions and surfaces and interfaces. The investigations concentrate on establishing relations between the magnetic, electronic, optical, and mechanical properties of solids and their microstructure. Thin films and surfaces are investigated as well as nanocrystalline materials, phase boundaries and defects in bulk crystals. The results of the research will provide the necessary information for creating new and improved functional or structural materials in application areas such as sensorics, opto- and microelectronics.
The Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics was founded in 1992 as the first institute of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft in the eastern part of Germany based on the previous Academy of Science Institute of Solid State Physics and Electron Microscopy. The institute consists of two experimental departments (I and II) and the theory department. A new laboratory building for the experimental departments, including also workshop facilities and a hall for special experiments, were put into use in September 1997. Two other buildings were reconstructed and are available since the beginning of 1999. Guest houses of the institute was opened in 1995 and in 1999.
In October 2013, the MPI staff was comprised of 102 postions, including scientific, technical and administrative personnel. These postions were filled by 42 scientists (20 of those non-tenured) and 61 non-scientists (9 of those non-tenured). Third-party funds financed 40 coworkers including 17 graduates studying for a doctorate. The Max Planck Society financed 70 graduate students and postdocs.
A joint German-French research association in the field of magnetic thin films called "Laboratoire Européen Associé" (LEA) is well established now.