HZB researcher Catherine Dubourdieu appointed full professor at Freie Universität Berlin

Professor Catherine Dubourdieu is head of the HZB Institute Functional thin film oxides for energy efficient future IT. Credit: M. Setzpfand/HZB

Catherine Dubourdieu has become a full professor at the Freie Universität Berlin commencing December 2017. The Freie Universität Berlin is one of eleven German elite universities in the German Universities Excellence Initiative. Her position will be that of W3-S, which enables her to continue her research at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) in joint role. The physicist is an expert in the field of functional metal oxides that are interesting candidates for future information technologies. 

“I am very excited to contribute to the teaching and research missions of FU. I see also a big opportunity to expand the good cooperation between FU Berlin and the HZB. Through involvement in teaching, I will now have direct contact with the next generation of scientists. And I will not only be able to pass on knowledge, but also draw talented young people into our team.”, says Catherine Dubourdieu. The full professor joins the faculty of the Institute for Chemistry at the Freie Universität Berlin.

Catherine Dubourdieu studied and received her PhD degree in physics in Grenoble.  After a postdoctoral fellowship at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken (New Jersey), she researched at the Laboratoire des Matériaux et du Génie Physique (LMGP) of the CNRS in Grenoble until 2009. Between 2009 and 2012, she was a visiting researcher at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights (NY, USA). There, she worked in the field of monolithic integration of ferroelectric oxides on silicon with the aim of producing energy-saving logic devices. In June 2012, she moved to the institute “Nanotechnologies de Lyon” of the CNRS, developing new projects for functional oxide research. Her work was recognized by an IBM Faculty award in 2014.

Since April 2016, she is setting up the institute “Functional Oxides for Energy-Efficient Information Technology” at the HZB. With her growing team, she is now researching into thin film and nanostructures of functional oxides, which are considered an especially promising class of materials for energy-efficient devices. Thin films of different metal oxides stacked together into “sandwich” structures exhibit entirely new mechanical, optical and electromagnetic properties, which may be used in a variety of interesting applications such as energy-efficient information processing. She is particularly focusing on heterostructures combining metal oxides and semiconductors (planar or nanostructured systems).  

Catherine Dubourdieu is also involved in establishing the  Helmholtz Energy Materials Foundry (HEMF) at the HZB. They are setting ultra-modern laboratories for material synthesis, which will also be available for use by external researchers. HEMF is a large-scale infrastructure being developed at six Helmholtz Centres for the synthesis and development of novel material systems for energy conversion and storage. HEMF is being funded with a total of 46 million euros (2016–2020).