Prof. Dr. Frithjof Nolting

Head of Laboratory for Condensed Matter (LSC)

Paul Scherrer Institute
Forschungsstrasse 111
5232 Villigen PSI


Frithjof Nolting received his Diploma in Physics at the University of Braunschweig in 1994, studying heavy fermion systems at low temperatures and high pressures, and his PhD in Physics at the University of Zürich in 1998, determining the gravitational constant supervised by Prof. Walter Kündig. In 1999 he started his work on magnetism at the nanoscale joining the group of Prof. Joachim Stöhr, Stanford University, and worked at the Advanced Light Source (ALS), Berkeley, and the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory (SSRL). In 2001 he started working at the Swiss Light Source (SLS) and became in 2006 the group leader of the Microscopy and Magnetism group. In 2009 he was promoted to be a Titularprofessor at the University of Basel and since 2013 he is the head of the Laboratory for Condensed Matter in the Photon Science Division.

Institutional Responsibilities

Head of the Laboratory of Condensed Matter in the Photon Science Division. The Laboratory consists of six groups with about 60 people, which focus on different aspects of condensed matter and materials science. The mission of the laboratory for condensed matter is to perform competitive research for new materials and to provide a platform for the user community for high impact research in condensed matter and materials science based on the SLS and SwissFEL. We operate 7 beamlines at the SLS and 1 beamline at the SwissFEL. Besides leading the laboratory, I run my own research program on magnetism at the nanoscale. For the Photon Science Division I am the deputy for the SwissFEL operation and for PSI I am coordinating the activities in advanced manufacturing and representing PSI in the corresponding ETH committees.

Scientific Research

Frithjof Nolting is an international renowned expert for the study of magnetic nanoscale systems with X-ray photoemission electron microscopy (PEEM). He was member of the ALS team which pioneered the use of PEEM for the study of exchange bias systems. At the SLS, he has built up the SIM beamline and the PEEM program with several pioneering research projects such as the study of individual magnetic nanoparticles and the study of spin ice systems. Besides X-ray microscopy, he is very active in developing and using X-ray absorption spectroscopy for the study of heterostructures. He is working on interfacing magnetic nanoscale systems, where the understanding of the static and dynamic electronic and magnetic coupling of the individual subsystems is important for fundamental insights and to guide the material development. His research interests are:

•          magnetic heterostructures, patterned materials and nanoparticles

•          artificial multiferroics

•          Opto-magnetism

•          interface coupling

•          magnetization dynamics

•          interaction of magnetic materials with femtosecond laser pulses

•          soft X-ray absorption spectroscopy and microscopy

•          synchrotron instrumentation

Selected Publications

For an extensive overview we kindly refer you to our publication repository DORA . A full publication list can be downloaded here: Publication list

Direct observation of the alignment of ferromagnetic spins by antiferromagnetic spins, F. Nolting, A. Scholl, J. Stöhr, J.W. Seo, J. Fompeyrine, H. Siegwart, J.-P. Locquet, S. Anders, J. Lüning, E.E. Fullerton, M.F. Toney, M.R. Scheinfein, and H.A. Padmore, Nature 405, 767 (2000).

First real space imaging of the exchange bias coupling of antiferromagnetic and ferromagnetic domains.

Chemical effects at metal/oxide interfaces studied by x-ray-absorption spectroscopy, T. J. Regan, H. Ohldag, C. Stamm, F. Nolting, J. Lüning, J. Stöhr, and R. L. White, Phys. Rev. B 64, 214422 (2001).

Detailed investigation of oxidation effects at interfaces, which is a highly cited paper.

Sign dependence of the x-ray magnetic linear dichroism on the antiferromagnetic spin axis in LaFeO3 thin films, S. Czekaj, F. Nolting, L.J. Heyderman, P.W. Willmott, and G. van der Laan, Phys. Rev. B. 73, 020401(R) (2006).

Discovery of the anisotropic behaviour of X-ray magnetic linear dichroism.

Size-Dependent Spin Structures in Iron Nanoparticles, A. Fraile Rodríguez, A. Kleibert, J. Bansmann, A. Voitkans, L. J. Heyderman, and F. Nolting, Phys. Rev. Lett. 104, 127201 (2010).

One of the first studies of individual magnetic nanoparticles with XPEEM.

Ultrafast Heating as a Sufficient Stimulus for Magnetization Reversal in a Ferrimagnet, T. A. Ostler, J. Barker, R. F. L. Evans, R. Chantrell, U. Atxitia, O. Chubykalo-Fesenko, S. El Moussaoui, L. Le Guyader, E. Mengotti, L. J. Heyderman, F. Nolting, A. Tsukamoto, A. Itoh, D. Afanasiev, B. A. Ivanov, A. M. Kalashnikova, K. Vahaplar, J. Mentink, A. Kirilyuk,Th. Rasing and A. V. Kimel, Nat. Commun. 3, 666 (2012).

First demonstration of switching of the magnetization direction due to linearly polarized femtosecond pulses.

Single domain spin manipulation by electric fields in strain coupled artificial multiferroic nanostructures, M. Buzzi, R. V. Chopdekar, J. L. Hockel, A. Bur, T. Wu, N. Pilet, P. Warnicke, G. P. Carman, L. J. Heyderman, and F. Nolting, Phys Rev. Lett. 111, 027204 (2013)

First demonstration of 90 degree switching of individual magnetic domains in artificial multiferroics.

Exploring hyper-cubic energy landscapes in thermally active finite artificial spin-ice systems, A. Farhan, P. M. Derlet, A. Kleibert, A. Balan, R. V. Chopdekar, M. Wyss, L. Anghinolfi, F. Nolting, and L. J. Heyderman, Nat. Phys. 9, 375 (2013).

First realtime imaging of the dynamics in an artificial spin ice system in collaboration with the group of Laura Heyderman.

Nanoscale sub-100 picosecond all-optical magnetization switching in GdFeCo microstructures, L. Le Guyader, M. Savoini, S.E. Moussaoui, M. Buzzi, A. Tsukamoto, A. Itoh, A. Kirilyuk, T. Rasing, A.V. Kimel, and F. Nolting, Nat. Commun. 6, 5839 (2015).

Demonstration of nanofocusing in all-optical switching.

Single-shot Monitoring of Ultrafast Processes via X-ray Streaking at a Free Electron Laser, Michele Buzzi, Mikako Makita, Ludovic Howald, Armin Kleibert, Boris Vodungbo, Pablo Maldonado, Jörg Raabe, Nicolas Jaouen, Harald Redlin, Kai Tiedtke, Peter M. Oppeneer, Christian David, Frithjof Nolting, and Jan Lüning, Scientific Reports 7, 7253 (2017).

Demonstrating of X-ray Streaking for single shot dynamics.