The Research Network »Functional Nanostructures« of the State of Baden-Württemberg


Nanotechnology is considered one of the key technologies of the 21st century. Increasingly small structures are gaining technological and economic importance. The scope of applications ranges from car paints and catalysts to high-performance materials; from medical applications to data storage devices and micro- and nanoelectronics, to mention but a few examples.

Rapid progress in nanotechnology is driven by two major developments. On the one hand, scientific progress allows for the development of completely new products, processes, and technologies for industrial application. On the other hand, further progress in the existing key technologies increasingly depends on the understanding and control of functional structures on the nanometer scale. Frequently, technological progress is hampered by a lack of understanding of structures on the nanoscale. It is the task of research to develop the respective know-how and to offer solutions for future technological problems and challenges. Nanotechnology is deemed a multi-disciplinary technology. For successful research and efficient implementation, very close cooperation of the various disciplines is required.

The Research Network “Functional Nanostructures” is a platform for target-oriented and multi-disciplinary research in the field of nanotechnology that comprises leading institutions in Baden-Württemberg. The network aims at studying the fabrication, properties, and functioning of intelligent functional nanostructures and, thus, creating the prerequisites for the future use and the systematic further development of existing applications.

The research network, the spokesmen of which are the Karlsruhe scientists Prof. Thomas Schimmel and Prof. Hilbert von Löhneysen, bundles the competencies in the field of functional nanostructures in the state of Baden-Württemberg. The research network makes use of existing synergies between the participating institutions. These are the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, the universities Constance, Stuttgart, and Ulm as well as the Max Planck Institute of Solid-State Research in Stuttgart. Each of these partners has already been successful in establishing nano-technology research. Concerning their focus of research, the partners complement each other in an ideal way.

Hence, the research network does not only contribute to the state-wide bundling of competen-cies in the field of functional nanostructures. It rather enhances the profiling of each of the par-ticipating institutions in the field of nanotechnology.

The Research Network “Functional Nanostructures” initiates and bundles multi-disciplinary co-operation of various nanotechnology research groups in Baden-Württemberg, focusing on the fields of physics, chemistry, materials and engineering sciences, and biology. Competence in the field of functional nanostructures extends from chemical synthesis to physical experiments and measurement methods; from theoretical processes and simulation methods to applica-tion-oriented studies.

Activities of the Research Network “Functional Nanostructures” concentrate on:

  1. Cooperative, multi-disciplinary research projects relating to key issues of nano­technology between leading institutions,
  2. Support of scientific exchange between the research groups involved as well as specific promotion of young scientists in the field of nanotechnology,
  3. Support of international cooperation.

The Research Network “Functional Nanostructures” represents an interdisciplinary research en-deavor, in which various disciplines from experiment to theory, from physics to chemistry, and from electrical engineering to materials sciences and life sciences cooperate very closely. The competencies and foci of the individual partner institutions complement each other in an ideal manner.