We traditionally focus on thin layers and nanoparticles based on silicon and, more recently, on carbon. Thus, typical samples are silicon nanoparticles, silicon nanowires, layers of amorphous or nanocrystalline silicon or diamond, or 2D structures derived from graphene. The motivation for their research is their use mainly in photovoltaics and photonics, but also unique applications in other fields. Samples are most often prepared using low-temperature plasma, i.e. by the PECVD (plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition). In this research direction, the department has a unique position in the Czech Republic, with a long history founded by Dr. J. Kočka. The department works with partners from leading European laboratories aiming at understanding of optical and electronic processes in nanostructures.