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Prof. Dr.

Ekhard K. H. Salje

Year of election: 1994
Section: Earth Sciences
City: Cambridge
Country: Great Britain

Research

Die Forschung von Ekhard Salje beschaftigt sich mit der Analyse von Mikrostrukturen, insbesondere der Rolle, die elastische Kräfte spielen. Exteme strukturelle und elektronische Eigenschaften, so z. B. supraleitende Zwillingswände in einer isolierenden Matrix, können in vielen Materialien wie Oxiden, Perowskiten und Metallen festgestellt werden. Ekhard Salje hat den chemischen Transport entlang solcher Wände untersucht und gefunden, dass ionischer und elektronischer Transport in der Regel stark erhöht sind. Seine Arbeit an Zircon und vergleichbaren Mineralen hat gezeigt, dass die Enkapsulierung von Plutonium und Uran in solchen Verbindungen möglich ist und bei der Entsorgung von hoch-radioaktiven Elementen eine große Rolle spielen kann. Andere Arbeiten beschaftigen sich mit strukturellen Phaseumwandlungen in Legierungen, Mineralen und Halbleitern. In Supraleitern hat er die Anwesenheit von kleinen Polaronen nachgewiesen und die thermodynamische Stabilitat dieser Teilchen untersucht.

The research of Ekhard Salje focuses on a mathematically correct and physically meaningful description of microstructures in minerals. Elastic forces generate 'universal' microstructures such as twins, needle and trumpet domains, wiggled domain walls, comb structures and tweed. The internal structures, e. g. of a twin wall, and elastic forces are atomic in origin. Atomic forces determine transport properties along twin walls, the thickness of such walls, and lead sometimes to extreme electronic properties of such microstructures. This research has lead to a new understanding of how atomic and electronic transport occurs in minerals with structural phase transition. It is also important for the understanding of premelting phenomena and the softening of elastic constants and surface structure. Recent work incudes research on the encapsulation of actinites in ceramic matrices. Using computer simulation of many interacting particles (>1 million atoms) together with results from diffuse X-ray scattering, NMR and IR spectroscopy the polymerisation of minerals such as zircon during shock events and the percolation behaviour of their dissolution was identified. He has also worked in the area of structural phase transitions including those in minerals such as feldspar and perowskites. His work on superconductivity was mainly focussed on the appearance of small polarons in oxide materials.

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