Electronic Structure and Chemical Bonding of Materials

The aim of this research area is to perform detailed investigations of the electronic structure and chemical bonding of specific materials. The studies are part of the generally application-inspired fundamental research at the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology (IFM) with processes, materials and phenomena that are also relevant to industry. Experimental work using advanced x-ray spectroscopies with synchrotron radiation is combined with integrated computational materials engineering. Materials of current interest are:

MAX-phases and MXenes

A prominent example of interesting nanolaminates are the so-called MAX-phases, which are either hexagonal ternary carbides or nitrides. The MAX-phases are known to exhibit a remarkable combination of chemical, physical and mechanical properties including e.g., high electrical and thermal conductivity, high strength, high dissociation temperature, corrosion resistance, low friction, resistance to thermal shock and easy machinability. Another objective is to investigate the anisotropy characteristics in the electronic structure of so-called MXenes, a new family of 2D ceramic crystals related to MAX-phases.

Amorphous carbides

The objective of this work is to investigate the electronic structure in amorphous nanocomposite carbides and metallic glasses. A differentiation between the largely unknown electronic occupation of orbitals and bond strengths in octahedral and prismatic coordination in the interior of amorphous nanocomposites in comparison to single crystal materials using bulk-sensitive and element-selective x-ray spectroscopies are made. The knowledge aims to facilitate synthesis of novel amorphous materials and metallic glasses for hard coatings and electrical contacts on the atomic scale, and also serve as important tests of stochastic quenching density functional theory (SQ-DFT) and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, enabling development of improved theoretical methods.

Wide band-gap nitrides and strongly correlated materials

This research aims to explore the development of the width of the band-gap and anisotropy in the electronic structure of wide band-gap nitrides by investigating the hybridization and orbital overlap of the containing elements. The investigations have impact on future studies on other complex doped, ordered, and alloyed systems, e.g., temperature-dependent low-energy excitations and charge-transfer mechanisms and related inherently nano-laminated materials with temperature-dependent orbital occupations. Another objective is to explore low-energy excitations and charge-transfer processes in strongly correlated systems such as H-Tc superconductors and Colossal Magnetoresistance materials. The temperature-induced metal-insulator phase transitions and changes in the electronic structures at phase transitions are studied. The studies have impact on the fundamental understanding of electron correlations in relation to crystallographic direction-dependent physical properties such as conductivity.

Research Tools

Experimental techniques

X-ray spectroscopy: soft x-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS or SXA), X-ray Raman scattering or Soft x-ray emission spectroscopy (XES or SXE), Resonant inelastic x-ray scattering (RIXS), Extended X-ray Fine Structure Spectroscopy (EXAFS), X-ray Magnetic Circular Dichroism (XMCD). Most of the spectroscopic research is based on measurements at synchrotron radiation facilities.

Calculational methods

Density functional theory (Wien2k, Exciting, FEFF, CASTEP in Materials Modelling), Crystal-field, ligand-field and charge-transfer multiplet calculations in SIAM.

You can read more about my research at my website http://martinmagnuson.com/

Short CV 

Present employment
University Lecturer (Associate Prof.) at the Thin Film Physics Group, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology (IFM), Linköping University from 2008-03-01.

Docent competence
Docent in Physics with Specialization in Atomic, Molecular and Condensed Matter Physics , Uppsala University, 2005-09-16.

Post Doc position
Two year Post Doc/Guest Scientist at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris VI), Laboratoire de Chimie Physique - Matiere et Rayonnement, CNRS, Paris, France, from 1999-09-01 to 2001-08-31. Funded by a grant from STINT.

Doctorate Degree

Doctor of Philosophy in Physics
, Ph.D. (Tekn. Dr.), Uppsala University, 1999-05-14. Thesis title: Electronic Structure Studies Using Resonant X-ray and Photoemission Spectroscopy. Supervisor: Joseph Nordgren

Master degree
Master of Business Administration (MBA) in International Business at the School of Economics and Commercial Law, 1 year education, 40p, Gothenburg University and Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, 2002-2003.

Master degree

Master of Science in Applied Physics and Electrical Engineering
, (M.Sc.), 4.5 year education, 180p Linköping University, 1987-1992.

Referee and supervision 

Referee of papers submitted to high-level scientific journals
Referee of numerous papers in Phys. Rev. (PRL and PRB), Europhys. Lett, The Eur. Phys. J, Eur. J. Inorg. Chem., Thin Solid Films and many other scientific journals. 

Supervision of PhD-students
• At Uppsala University: Financed and co-supervised PhD student Egil Andersson who started in 2005 with my VR grant (PhD 2010-05-29).
• Informal supervisor for undergraduate students and PhD students, at Linköping Univ., Uppsala Univ. as well as Guest Researchers, and Post Docs. 

Teaching experience

Lecturer, course leader, developer and organizer of the Synchrotron Radiation and
Nanoscience courses at Linköping University and Uppsala University.
Synchrotron Radiation at Linköping University 2010 (7.5 hp).
Synchrotron Radiation at Linköping University 2008 (7.5 hp).
Synchrotron Radiation at Uppsala University 2007 (10 hp) and 2005 (7.5 hp).
Nanoscience, Ångström at Uppsala University 2006 (7.5 hp) and 2004 (7.5 hp).
Surface and Interface Physics at Uppsala University 2002 (7.5 hp).

Commission of trust and examination committees

• Member of the Board of the Materials and Nanoscience section; Swedish Physical Society (2011-).
• Member of the National Reference Group of MAX IV (2009/10/11).
• Organizer of Länsstudiedagen for gymnasielärare at LiU (2011-).
• Session Chair of New Materials in the American Ceramic Society (2011).
• PhD board of Ola Wessely; Theory of X-ray Abs. Spectra and Spin Tr. Torque (2006-04-28). 

News about my research



Martin Magnuson, Lina Tengdelius, Grzegorz Greczynski, Lars Hultman, Hans Högberg

­Chemical Bonding in Epitaxial ZrB2 Studied by X-ray Spectroscopy

In Thin Solid Films

Article in journal


Martin Magnuson, Maurizio Mattesini

Chemical bonding and electronic-structure in MAX phases as viewed by X-ray spectroscopy and density functional theory

In Thin Solid Films

Article, review/survey

Martin Magnuson, Susann Schmidt, Lars Hultman, Hans Högberg

Electronic properties and bonding in ZrHx thin films investigated by valence-bandx-ray photoelectron spectroscopy

In Physical Review B Condensed Matter

Article in journal

Martin Magnuson, Fredrik Eriksson, Lars Hultman, Hans Högberg

Bonding Structures of ZrHx Thin Films by X-ray Spectroscopy

In The Journal of Physical Chemistry C

Article in journal

Martin Magnuson

Induced magnetism at the interfaces of a Fe/V superlattice investigated by resonant magnetic x-ray scattering

In Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials

Article in journal


Weine Olovsson, Björn Alling, Martin Magnuson

Structure and Bonding in Amorphous Cr1−xCx Nanocomposite Thin Films: X‐ray Absorption Spectra and First-Principles Calculations

In The Journal of Physical Chemistry C

Article in journal


Martin Magnuson, Maurizio Mattesini, Mattieu Bugnet, Per Eklund

The origin of anisotropy and high density of states in the electronic structure of Cr2GeC by means of polarized soft X-ray spectroscopy and ab initio calculations

In Journal of Physics

Article in journal