Peter Grünberg,

Peter Grünberg (May 18, 1939) is a German physicist, and Nobel Prize in Physics laureate for his coincidental discovery with Albert Fert of giant magnetoresistance which brought about a breakthrough in gigabyte hard disk drives.[1]


Grünberg was born in Pilsen, at that time the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, now the Czech Republic. His father, an engineering graduate, moved the family after World War II to Lauterbach, Hesse, where he attended gymnasium.[2]

Grünberg received his intermediate diploma in 1962 from the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University. He then attended the Darmstadt University of Technology in Germany, where he received his diploma in physics in 1966 and his Ph.D. in 1969. From 1969-1972, he did postdoctoral work at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. He later joined the Institute for Solid State Physics at the Jülich Research Centre, where he became a leading researcher in the field of thin film and multilayer magnetism until his retirement in 2004.[2]

Important work

In 1986 he discovered the antiparallel exchange coupling ferromagnetic layers separated by a thin non-ferromagnetic layer, and in 1988 he discovered the Giant magnetoresistive effect (GMR) by which multiple layers can couple in this fashion.[3] GMR was simultaneously and independently discovered by Albert Fert from the Université de Paris Sud. It has been used extensively in the read heads in modern hard drives. Another application of the GMR effect is in non-volatile, magnetic random access memory.

Apart from the Nobel Prize, Grünberg's work also has been rewarded with shared prizes in the APS International Prize for New Materials, the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics Magnetism Award, the Hewlett-Packard Europhysics Prize, the Wolf Prize in Physics in and the 2007 Japan Prize. He won the German Future Prize for Technology and Innovation in 1998 and was named European Inventor of the Year in the category "Universities and research institutions" by the European Patent Office and European Commission in 2006.

Selected Publications

* Grünberg, Peter, Y. Suzuki, T. Katayama, K. Takanashi, R. Schreiber, K. Tanaka. 1997. "The magneto-optical effect of Cr(001) wedged ultrathin films grown on Fe(001)". JMMM . 165, 134.

* P. Grünberg, J.A. Wolf, R.Schäfer. 1996. "Long Range Exchange Interactions in Epitaxial Layered Magnetic Structures". Physica B 221, 357.

* M. Schäfer, Q. Leng, R. Schreiber, K. Takanashi, P. Grünberg, W. Zinn. 1995. "Experiments on Interlayer Exchange Coupling" (invited at 5th NEC Symp., Karuizawa, Japan). J. of Mat. Sci. and Eng. . B31, 17.

* A. Fert, P. Grünberg, A. Barthelemy, F. Petroff, W. Zinn (invited at ICM in Warsaw, 1994). 1995. "Layered magnetic structures: interlayer exchange coupling and giant magnetoresistance". JMMM. 140-144, 1.

* P. Grünberg, A. Fuß, Q. Leng, R. Schreiber, J.A. Wolf. 1993. "Interlayer Coupling and its Relation to Growth and Structure". Proc. of NATO workshop on "Magnetism and Structure in Systems of Reduced Dimension", ed. by R.F.C. Farrow et al., NATO ASI Series B: Physics Vol. 309, p. 87, Plenum Press, N.Y. 1993.

* A. Fuß, S. Demokritov, P. Grünberg, W. Zinn. 1992. "Short- and long period oscillations in the exchange coupling of Fe across epitaxially grown Al- and Au-interlayers". JMMM. 103, L211.

* G. Binasch, P. Grünberg, F. Saurenbach, W. Zinn. 1989. "Enhanced magnetoresistance in Fe-Cr layered structures with antiferromagnetic interlayer exchange". Physical Review B39. 4282.

* P. Grünberg, R. Schreiber, Y. Pang, M.B. Brodsky, H. Sowers. 1986. "Layered Magnetic Structures: Evidence for antiferromagnetic coupling of Fe-layers across Cr-interlayers". Physical Review Letters. 57, 2442.


  • 1. ^ The Nobel Prize in Physics 2007. The Nobel Foundation. Retrieved on 2007-10-09.
  • 2. ^ a b Curriculum Vitae. Jülich Research Centre. Retrieved on 2007-10-09.
  • 3. ^ G. Binasch; P. Grünberg; F. Saurenbach; W. Zinn (1989). "Enhanced magnetoresistance in layered magnetic structures with antiferromagnetic interlayer exchange". Phys. Rev. B 39 (7): 4828-4830. DOI:10.1103/PhysRevB.39.4828.


* Peter Grünberg webpage at the Jülich Research Centre

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