Ernst Bauer's Biography

Ernst G. Bauer 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, where he performed research on a part-time basis until 1996 in addition to his full-time duty in Germany. Since 1996 he was full-time at the Arizona State University. 2010 he became Professor Emeritus working part-time in ASU.

His interests are in surface science and thin films. 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 to understand epitaxy worldwide to this day. 1962 he invented LEEM (Low Energy Electron Microscopy), which came to fruition 1985. LEEM is a unique surface imaging method. The most important advantage of this technique is its ability to observe surface structure and dynamic processes in real space and real time at sample temperatures up to 1500 K. 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 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's interest in the development of synchrotron radiation microscopy techniques and his involvement with the Synchrotron radiation source Elettra in Trieste, Italy resulted in the development of the Nanospectroscopy beamline, which is today one of the leading synchrotron radiation microscopy facilities worldwide.

His work directly or indirectly impacts many areas of modern materials science: surfaces, thin films, electronic materials, catalysis and instrumentation. The invention and development of surface microscopy with slow electrons has revolutionized the study of surface science and thin film science.

Numerous LEEM instruments are now installed and are operating in many laboratories and synchrotron radiation facilities around the world (USA, Europe, Asia). An important recognition for Ernst Bauer's efforts in the field of surface microscopy is the increasing number of the scientists involved in LEEM research, which is reflected in the organization of bi-annual LEEM/PEEM workshops, the first of which was organized by Ernst Bauer and Anastassia Pavlovska in Arizona in 1998, followed by workshops in Paris (2000), New Mexico (2002), Holland (2004), Japan (2006), Italy (2008), New York (2010), Hong Kong (2012), Berlin (2014), California (2016). The next LEEM/PEEM11 workshop will be held 2018 in China. Ernst Bauer built up the reputation of Arizona State University as a center of surface electron microscopy, thus broadening its international reputation in electron microscopy in general.

Ernst Bauer published two books: "Electron Diffraction: Theory, Practice and Applications", 1958 (in German) and "Surface Microscopy with Low Energy Electrons", 2014. He authored or co-authored more than 460 publications (among them 88 review papers and book chapters). His papers are widely cited. In September 2007 Ernst Bauer had about more than 12000 citations with a Hirsch factor of 50.

He has been for many years in the Advisory Board of Surface Science and is currently on the Editorial Board of physica status solidi (a). He served on the International Advisory Committee for a Grant-in-Aid Project of the Ministry of Education and Science in Japan. He is also a member of the International Advisory Boards of several periodic conferences. He was a visiting professor at the IME in Rio de Janeiro, at the University of Pretoria (South Africa), the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Arizona State University, Synchrotron Radiation Source in Trieste, Italy and had longstanding scientific cooperation with NASA, Poland, Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Czech Republic. His international collaborations extended further to include visiting scientists from the U.S., India, Japan, China, Greece, South Africa, Canada, Sweden, Korea, and Holland. About 82 scientists had a possibility to perform high quality research in his group in Germany (53 of them from the European socialistic countries). Presently he has collaborations with Japan, Poland, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, China and Hong Kong.

The scientific achievements of Ernst Bauer have been multiply honored: 

  • E.W. Muller Award (1985)
  • Gaede Prize of the German Vacuum Society (1988) - "For the invention of the Low Energy Electron Microscope"
  • Elected Member of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences, Germany (1989).
  • Fellow of the American Physical Society (1991).
  • Medard W. Welch Award of the American Vacuum Society (1992) - "For his contributions to the fundamental understanding of thin film nucleation and growth and for his invention, development and use of multiple surface characterization techniques to study those thin films."
  • Niedersachsenpreis for Science (1994) - "For the development of LEEM and for his thin film research."
  • Fellow of the American Vacuum Society (1994).
  • Award of the Japan Society for Promotion of Science’s 141st Committee on Microbeam Analysis (2003) - "For outstanding research on microbeam analysis and contributions to the JSPS 141 Committee."
  • BESSY Innovation Award on Synchrotron Radiation (2004) - "Excellent contributions towards the development of the photoelectron emission microscope (PEEM) as energy, space and time resolved detection system of photoelectrons."
  • Davisson-Germer Prize of the American Physical Society (2005) - "For contributions to the science of thin-film nucleation and growth, and for the invention of Low Energy Electron Microscope."
  • Humboldt Research Award (2008) - "For his excellent achievements in solid state physics."
  • Doctor Honoris Causa, University Maria Sklodowska-Curie, Lublin, Poland (2008).
  • Fellow of the Elettra Sincrotrone Trieste, Italy (2013) - "Professor Ernst Bauer is a distinguished physicist and surface scientist who has given fundamental contributions to the understanding of epitaxial growth mechanisms and to the development of microscopy techniques.”
  • Doctor Honoris Causa, Wroclaw University, Wroclaw, Poland (2014).
  • International Fellow of the Japanese Society of Applied Physics (2015) - “Recognition of foreign researchers who have made remarkable contributions to the progress of applied physics through the international activities related to JSAP.”
  • Honorary Professor of the Chongqing University, China (2015) - “For outstanding academic achievements”.

For more details see: ASU Department of Physics Newsletter (Winter 2005) , ASU Physics Flash Newspaper December 2008, and the Physics flash Newspaper June 2009.