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Formation of Magnetic Nanoclusters in wide band gap semiconductors

Current international research in ion implanted oxides and nitrides is driven by the search for potential semiconductors with spintronic applications, i.e. semiconductors doped with low concentrations ( 5%) of TM ions, the so-called dilute magnetic semiconductors (DMS) in which spin induced room temperature ferromagnetism (RTFM) coexists with the charge carrier semiconducting functionality of the device.

Our program includes studies conducted at the extremely low dopant concentrations as well as at medium concentrations. At the dilute (10-3 %) concentration the studies are conducted at the online radioactive beam facility, ISOLDE, at CERN, where precursor isotopes 57Mn and 119Sn are implanted into the substrates under study and information is obtained from temperature and field dependent emission Mössbauer spectroscopy measurements.

At the medium concentration regime, Conversion electron Mössbauer Spectroscopy (CEMS) and magnetization measurements are conducted on semiconducting substrates implanted with 4-16 at. % Fe, Co and Mn ions. .

International search for both a recipe that would achieve the realization of magnetic nanoclusters and a fundamental understanding of the behaviour of the clusters continues, in order to allow this behaviour to be tuned to particular applications. Our project aims to contribute to this search, by focussing on selected transition metal implanted oxides and nitrides.


Lead Researcher: Professor K Bharuth-Ram

Prof. Bharuth-Ram completed his undergraduate degree at University of Fort Hare,majoring in Mathematics, Physics and Applied Mathematics (Distinction), followed by the BSc Hons degree in Physics at the University of Natal (Durban). He joined the Physics staff at the erstwhile University College-Durban in 1963 as a Junior Lecturer while at the same time beginning study towards the MSc degree in Plasma Physics at UND. After completing his MSc degree Prof. Bharuth-Ram proceeded, on a scholarship from the Royal Commission of the 1851 Exhibition, to Oxford University where he completed his DPhil in Nuclear Physics and returned to the University of Durban-Westville. Prof. Bharuth-Ram was head of the Department of Physics at the University of Durban-Westville from 1981- 1997. In 2008 the University of Pretoria conferred an honorary DSc on Prof. Bharuth-Ram. Professor Bharuth-Ram was awarded a Senior Research Fellowship by the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung (Germany) in 1976 when he undertook research in nuclear spectroscopy at the University of Köln. The research collaboration with colleagues in Germany has strengthened with the award of the DFG-NRF bi-lateral research grant in 2013 – 2015, followed by the award by the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung of a Grant to establish Research Partnership Program between DUT and the Friedrich- Schiller University, Jena, Germany. His current research activity is mainly focused on applications of radioactive ion beams in materials research, in collaboration with colleagues at the Universities of Goettingen and Jena (Germany) and Lisbon (Portugal) and in the ISOLDE Collaboration at CERN. Prof. Bharuth-Ram served as Director of iThemba LABS in 2005 – 2006, and as Executive Director/Vice President of the NRF with responsibility for the national research facilities in 2007 – 2008. He also served as Head of the National Advisory Council on Innovation, Department of Science and Technology, July 2010 – July 2012. He is currently head of the SA-ISOLDE programme within the SA-CERN Program


Renewable & Sustainable Energy

The main research focus of the centre is on the development of new and innovative renewable energy technologies and energy conservation in industrial, retail, commercial and residential sectors. Our research projects includes the development of innovative technologies for utilizing renewable energy resources especially solar, wind and sea wave efficiently for accomplishing the energy needs of the society as well as to minimize the use of conventional energy and its impact on the climate. We also assist SMEs and individuals in pre-assessment, sourcing funds and designing their innovative projects in the area of renewable energy.

To facilitate the production of technology and services in energy efficiency and renewable & sustainable energy, research is being conducted in the following areas:

  • Solar Thermal
  • Wind / PV Hybrid systems
  • Energy Management Systems
  • Energy Audits
  • Smart Metering
  • Smart Grid System
  • Biogas
  • Building Energy


Lead Researcher: Prof I Lazarus

Prof Lazarus completed his under graduate degree at the University of Durban Westville (UDW) majoring in Mathematics and Physics. He then pursued an Honours degree in Physics at the University of Cape Town (UCT), followed by a Master’s degree in Nuclear Physics at UDW.  His doctoral degree was completed at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in the field of Plasma Physics, focusing on linear and nonlinear wave phenomena in electron-positron plasmas.  His research areas are Plasma Physics, Renewable Energy, Nuclear Physics and Physics Education. Prof Lazarus presently manages DUT’s Energy Technology Station called the “KZN Industrial Energy Efficient Training and Resource Centre”.  He managers many energy related projects including photovoltaic system installations, development of innovation energy products for commercialization, research projects as well as community based projects. He supervises masters and doctoral students in Renewable Energy and Plasma Physics.



DUT Energy Technology Station:  www.ieetrdut1.wixsite.com/ieetr