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Prof. Dr. Rainer Waser

Nanoelectronics/Materials Science, RWTH Aachen University and Peter Grünberg Institute at Research Centre Jülich GmbH

Prof. Dr. Rainer Waser

Prof. Dr. Rainer Waser

© DFG / David Ausserhofer

Rainer Waser is an outstanding researcher in both the natural sciences and engineering. His research is unusually broad, ranging from pure solid-state chemistry and defect chemistry to electronic properties and modelling, the technology of new materials and the physical properties of construction components. His early investigations into the electrical degradation of oxides were pioneering, and still serve as a foundation for the development of ferroelectric materials (an increasingly important field), as do his investigations into ferroelectric thin films. One extremely important area of his research is the use of resistive switches as memories in information technology. Initial efforts were made in this field by other researchers from the 1960s onwards, but failed to achieve scientific breakthroughs or technological prospects. It was Waser who, in 2006, discovered the basic mechanism controlling the switching characteristic. This opened up new possibilities in the miniaturisation of memory components and offers enormous potential for energy-saving, as resistive memories use three times less energy than their conventional counterparts.

Born in 1955, Rainer Waser studied chemistry at Technical University of Darmstadt. After spending two years researching in Southampton, he also received his doctorate from the Technical University of Darmstadt. In 1992, after spending eight years in industry, he was appointed professor in the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology at RWTH Aachen University. Since 1997 he has also been the Director of the Peter Grünberg Institute at Forschungszentrums Jülich. With a high-calibre global network, Waser is one of the most cited representatives of his field and is highly respected as a lecturer and mentor for early career researchers.