Ernst Bauer Biographical Sketch

Professor Ernst Bauer

Professor Ernst Bauer is a distinguished German-American physicist, one of the founders of surface physics and the physics of thin films. He received his MS (1953) and PhD (1955), both in physics, from Munich University, Germany. In 1958 he moved to the Michelson Laboratory in China Lake, California, where he became Head of the Crystal Physics Branch and U.S. citizen. In 1969 he accepted the position of Professor and Director of the Physics Institute at the Technical University Clausthal in Germany. In 1991 he was appointed Distinguished Research Professor at the Arizona State University, in addition to his full-time duty in Germany. Since 1996 he is full-time at the Arizona State University. Since 2010 he is Distinguished Research Professor Emeritus still working full-time in ASU.

Professor Bauer’s work directly or indirectly impacts many areas of modern materials science: surfaces, thin films, electronic materials, and instrumentation. In 1958 he derived the classification of the thin film growth mechanisms, which he called Volmer-Weber, Stranski-Krastanov and Frank-van der Merwe mechanisms. This provided the theoretical thermodynamic framework of epitaxy which is used worldwide to understand epitaxy to this day. In 1962 he invented LEEM (Low Energy Electron Microscopy), which came to fruition in 1985. In the late eighties/early nineties he extended the LEEM technique in two important directions by developing two new surface microscopy methods: Spin-Polarized Low Energy Electron Microscopy (SPLEEM) and Spectroscopic Photo Emission and Low Energy Electron Microscopy (SPELEEM). The invention and development of surface microscopy with slow electrons has revolutionized the study of surface science and thin film science. The combination of these methods now allows a comprehensive (structural, chemical, magnetic, electronic) characterization of surfaces and thin films on the 10 nm scale.

Ernst Bauer authored or co-authored more than 450 publications (among them 85 review papers and book chapters) and two books: "Electron Diffraction: Theory, Practice and Applications", 1958 and “Surface Microscopy with Low Energy Electrons”, 2014.

He had longstanding scientific cooperation with NASA, Poland, Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Czech Republic. About 80 scientists had a possibility to perform high quality research in his group in Germany (53 of them from the European, at that time Soviet bloc countries). Initiated by collaboration with Wrocław, over the 1980s and 1990s, more than a dozen of young physicists from Poland had a possibility to carry out research in his lab by using modern scientific equipment unavailable in Poland. Presently he has collaborations with Japan, Poland, Italy, Germany and Hong Kong.

The scientific achievements of Ernst Bauer have been multiply honored. He was the recipient of the E.W. Muller Award in 1985, the Gaede Prize of the German Vacuum Society in 1988, the Medard W. Welch Award of the American Vacuum Society in 1992, the Niedersachsenpreis for Science (Germany) in 1994, the BESSY Innovation Award on Synchrotron Radiation in 2004 and the very prestigious Davisson-Germer Prize of the American Physical Society in 2005. In 2003 Ernst Bauer received the first Award of the Japan Society of Promotion of Science's 141st Committee on Microbeam Analysis and was made an honorary member of this organization. He was elected a Member of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences in 1989, Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1991 and Fellow of the American Vacuum Society in 1994. In 2008 he was honored by a Humboldt Research Prize and Doctor Honoris Causa at the Maria Curie-Skłodowska University, Lublin, Poland. In 2012 he was appointed Fellow of Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste.

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