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Advanced Materials (Wiley/VCH) Special KIT-Issue with the title "Multidisciplinary Materials Research at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)".
Cover Adv. Mat.

The KIT Special Issue contains a total of 27 publications by scientists from the KIT Materials Center, on a broad range of topics. It is available online since June 27, 2019. Please have a look at following link: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/toc/15214095/2019/31/26 

Scientific Spokesperson
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wenzel

Phone: +49(0)721 608-26386

wolfgang wenzelUry6∂kit edu


Dr. Nathalie Matter-König
Managing Director
Dr. Nathalie Matter-König

Phone: +49(0)721 608-26973
nathalie matter-koenigKef8∂kit edu

Welcome to the KIT Center Materials in Technical and Life Sciences

The challenges of the digital economy of the 21st century in the context of the forth industrial revolution require a constant development of new materials to enable new and challenging applications. The KIT Center Materials in Technical and Life Sciences integrates KIT research groups from the natural sciences, engineering and life sciences, which share a common interest in material research and in the development of new materials. The close cooperation between scientists from different disciplines creates a great potential for leading edge research in material sciences. The technological development requires continuous research into and development of new efficient materials for specific applications. In the KIT Materials Center, new materials and technologies are developed in a closed chain, from basic research to economic implementation, thanks to the integration of basic and application-oriented research. The development of nanostructured materials as well as the development of environmentally friendly technologies play a special role in the KIT Center. Furthermore, the integration of information-based approaches and modeling in the context of the digitalization of material sciences plays a growing, and increasingly important, role.

The work of the KIT Materials Center covers five topics:



New quantum materials with unique properties

KIT is involved in the new Collaborative Research Center/Transregio (SFB/TRR) "Elastic Tuning and Elastic Response of Electronic Quantum Phases of Matter" (ELASTO-Q-MAT). It investigates quantum materials whose properties can be decisively changed by elastic deformation. The University of Frankfurt/Main is in charge of the project. The KIT site spokesperson is Professor Jörg Schmalian. The German Research Foundation (DFG) will fund the project with about ten million euros over the next four years.

Further information here.

Niemeyer-Lab, KIT
Microbial Cyborgs: Bacteria Supplying Power

Electronic devices are still made of lifeless materials. One day, however, “microbial cyborgs” might be used in fuel cells, biosensors, or bioreactors. Scientists of KIT have created the necessary prerequisite by developing a programmable, biohybrid system consisting of a nanocomposite and the Shewanella oneidensis bacterium that produces electrons. The material serves as a scaffold for the bacteria and, at the same time, conducts the microbially produced current. The findings are reported in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.


New Molecules for Innovative High-tech Materials

German Research Foundation Funds Professor Peter Roesky’s Work on Sandwich Compounds, a groundbreaking study with EUR 500,000, under a Reinhart Koselleck Project.

Thanks to their special properties, rare earths are used in many high-tech products. Scientists of KIT are now working on new applications of these elements. The team produces so-called sandwich compounds based on rare earths, which might serve as novel molecular materials for more efficient storage media or displays in future.

Futher information here.

New Materials: Brilliant White without Pigments

Nanostructured Polymer Foil Appears White without Environmentally Hazardous Titanium Diox-ide – Beetle’s Chitin Scales Used as a Model. Polymer foils that are extremely thin and characterized by a high light scattering rate are produced by a new process developed by KIT researchers. The inexpensive material may be applied industrially to various objects to give them an attractive white appearance. Moreover, the process can make products environmentally more compatible.

Further information here.

Plant Protection: Communication instead of Poison

Researchers of KIT and partners have now launched the DialogProTec project that focuses on new approaches to plant protection without herbicides and fungicides. In collaboration with colleagues from Germany, France, and Switzerland, the researchers are conducting research in dialog with winegrowers, farmers, and industry. The project is funded by the EU under the border-crossing Interreg Upper Rhine program.

Further Information here.

Having an Eye for Colors: Printable Light Sensors

Cameras, light barriers, and movement sensors have one thing in common: They work with light sensors that are already found in many applications. In future, these sensors might also play an important role in telecommunications, as they enable data transmission via light. At the InnovationLab in Heidelberg, scientists of KIT succeeded in making decisive progress: Printable light sensors that can see colors. The results are now reported in Advanced Materials.

Vincent Hahn, KIT
Fastest High-precision 3D Printer

3D printers working in the millimeter range and larger are increasingly used in industrial production processes. Many applications, however, require precise printing on the micrometer scale at a far higher speed. Researchers of KIT have now developed a system to print highly precise, centimeter-sized objects with submicrometer details at a so far unmatched speed. This system is presented in a special issue of Advanced Functional Materials.

Programmable Nests for Cells

Using DNA, smallest silica particles, and carbon nanotubes, researchers of KIT developed novel programmable materials. These nanocomposites can be tailored to various applications and programmed to degrade quickly and gently. For medical applications, they can create environments in which human stem cells can settle down and develop further.The results are presented in Nature Communications and on the bioRxiv platform.

Horst Hahn Bild
Prof. Horst Hahn elected NAI Fellow

Professor Horst Hahn, Director of the Institute of Nanotechnology at KIT, was elected Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) in the USA. He will receive the award in April 2020 at the annual meeting of the NAI in Phoenix, Arizona.

Futher information: NAI press release

Britta Nestler
Medal of the Order of Merit for Britta Nestler

Ceremonial award of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Karlsruhe scientist on the Day of German Unity. Professor Britta Nestler researches and teaches at the KIT as well as at the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences. She was honoured for her scientific achievements, especially for her pioneering role in combining basic and applied research.

Further information can be found here.

LookKIT zum Thema Materialforschung

The current issue of lookKIT highlights the topic materials. The KIT Materials Center contributes in various ways, from fundamental research to applications, and integrates research groups from natural, engineering and life sciences that have a common interest in innovative development.


Cover Adv. Mat.
Advanced Materials (Wiley/VCH) Special KIT-Issue with the title "Multidisciplinary Materials Research at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)"

Prof. Dr. Wöll and Prof. Dr. Wenzel, who initiated the project in March 2018, are guest editors. The KIT Special Issue contains a total of 27 publications by scientists from the KIT Center Materials, on a broad range of topics. It is available online since June 27, 2019. Please have a look at following link:


Producing Graphene from Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide is not only a greenhouse gas in the atmosphere leading to global-warming effect, it can also be a useful raw material for chemical reactions. A working group at KIT is using carbon dioxide as a raw material to produce graphene, a technological material which is currently the subject of intense study. The work on this unusual application has been reported in the ChemSusChem journal (DOI: 10.1002/cssc.201901404).

Marrying chemistry with biology by combining on-chip solution-based combinatorial synthesis and cellular screening

The search for new active substances, their production, characterization, and screening for biological effectiveness are very complex and costly. Scientists of KIT have now succeeded in combining these processes on a chip and, hence, facilitating and accelerating the procedures to produce promising substances. The results are  published in Nature Communications (DOI 10.1038/s41467-019-10685-0).

KIT at the City Hall: Technologies for the Materials of Tomorrow

On Tuesday, June 4, 2019 at 6:30 PM, scientists from the KIT Materials Center will present their research on new technologies in the Karlsruhe City Hall.

Granular aluminium as a superconducting material for high-impedance quantum circuits

Scientists at the KIThave used granular aluminum (nicknamed grAl) for qubits and have shown that this superconducting material has great potential to overcome the previous limits of quantum hardware.

Work published in the journal Nature Materials (DOI: 10.1038 / s41563-019-0350-3).

Ships Slide in an Air Envelope

The First Prize of the BMBF Validation Award Goes to the ARES “Air-retaining Surfaces” Project on Bionic Ship Coatings that Reduce Friction between Ship Walls and Water. Friction, corrosion, and biofilms are three major problems in shipping. The research project ARES – a collaboration project of KIT and the universities of Bonn and Rostock – studies new types of ship coatings that permanently retain an air layer under water and, thus, help considerably reduce the three problems.

Please have a look here.

Bild 2019_017
Multimaterial 3D laser microprinting using an integrated microfluidic system
Development of a new system for the efficient and precise production of printed micro- and nanostructures from several materials. Integration of a microfluidic chamber for the fluids on smallest space directly into a 3D laser lithography device. Work published in Science Advances 5, 2019.
Bild 2019_011
Controlling the shape of 3D microstructures by temperature and light
3D-printed structures, responsive to external stimuli. Instead of temperature, focused light is used as a control signal. For the first time, this allows the targeted control of individual microstructures in a complex, three-dimensional arrangement.The results are published in Nature Communications 10, 2019.
Leibniz Prize for Wolfgang Wernsdorfer

Professor Wolfgang Wernsdorfer of KIT receives the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize 2019 of the German Research Foundation (DFG). Germany’s highest science prize endowed with EUR 2.5 million honors the experimental physicist for his research into electronics, spin physics, and quantum computing.

KIT Press Release

New Biocatalytic Material for “Green” Production of Value-added Chemicals

Industry consumes large quantities of crude oil to produce basic substances for drugs, cosmetics, plastics, or food. However, these processes consume a lot of energy and produce waste. Biological processes with enzymes are far more sustainable. The protein molecules can catalyze various chemical reactions without auxiliary materials or solvents being required. But they are expensive and, hence, have been economically unattractive so far. Researchers of KIT have now developed a new biomaterial that considerably facilitates the use of enzymes. The results are presented in the journal Angewandte Chemie, Oct. 2018.

Uniaxial pressure control of competing orders in a high-temperature superconductor

High-temperature superconductors can transport electrical energy without resistance. Researchers at KIT have carried out high-resolution inelastic x-ray scattering and have found that high uniaxial pressure induces a long-range charge order competing with superconductivity. Their study opens up new insights into the behavior of correlated electrons. The researchers report on it in the journal Science, Nov. 2018.

Templated Nanofiber Synthesis via Chemical Vapor Polymerization into Liquid Crystalline Films.

Polymer pelts made of the finest of fibers are suitable for many different applications, from coatings that adhere well and are easy to remove to highly sensitive biological detectors. Researchers at KIT together with scientists in the United States have now developed a cost-effective process to allow customized polymer nanofibers to grow on a solid substrate through vapor deposition of a liquid crystal layer with reactive molecules. The researchers report on their innovative method in the journal Science, Nov. 2018.


PR 2018_133
“Scalable Rare Earth Ion Quantum Computing Nodes” (SQUARE) is funded by the European Commission with EUR three million.

Quantum computers can execute many computation steps in parallel. This will accelerate processing of large data volumes. The microstructure of certain materials and elements of the quantum bits, however, is of crucial importance. Researchers KIT study materials for such multi-functional quantum bits.

“A promising approach to the next generation of quantum computers is based on materials, single systems of which are not larger than an atom and the quantum properties of which can be accessed and controlled optically,” says Professor David Hunger of KIT’s Physikalisches Institut, who coordinates the SQUARE project.

KIT Press Release

Exzellenstrategie 2018
Excellence Strategy: KIT Is Successful with Two Clusters of Excellence

KIT has successfully acquired funding for two clusters of excellence within the Excellence Strategy launched by the federal and state governments. The Excellence Commission has agreed to fund KIT’s proposals in the area of energy research and materials science for a period of seven years.

In future, the following clusters of excellence will be funded at KIT:

3D Designer Materials – 3D Matter Made to Order (Part of the KIT-Centre Materials)

Spokespersons: Professor Martin Wegener (KIT) and Professor Uwe H.F. Bunz (Heidelberg University)

More information: www.3dmattermadetoorder.kit.edu 

Energy Storage beyond Lithium – New Concepts for a Sustainable Future (Part of the KIT-Centre Energy)

Spokespersons: Professor Maximilian Fichtner (KIT and Ulm University), Professor Helmut Ehrenberg (KIT), and Professor Axel Groß (Ulm University)

KIT Press Release

PR 2018_094
3D Inks that Can Be Erased Selectively

3D printing by direct laser writing enables production of micro-meter-sized structures for many applications, from biomedicine to microelectronics to optical metamaterials. KIT researchers have now developed 3D inks that can be erased selectively. This allows specific degradation and reassembly of highly precise structures on the micrometer and nanometer scales. The new photoresists are presented in the journal Nature Communications, July 2018

PR 2018_080
High-tech Dentures: Fighting Bacteria with Nanotechnology

KIT scientists, together with experts for dental implants, have now developed a nanostructured surface to accelerate wound healing after implantation and to better protect it against the attack of bacteria.

KIT Press Release

Painting and drying using less hot air

Innovative Method for Steel Strip Drying – The KIT-Institute of Combustion Technology of the Engler-Bunte Institute is coordinating the research project in the EU’s Horizon 2020. Thanks to a new furnace design, energy efficiency in industrial steel strip drying can be significantly increased and the size of the facility drastically reduced. Using the planned process, investment and production costs can be cut by at least 40 percent. This is achieved through the use of infrared radiant burner technology.

KIT Press Release

Processing Glass Like a Polymer

Pure quartz glass is highly transparent and resistant to thermal, physical, and chemical impacts. These are optimum prerequi-sites for use in optics, data technology or medical engineering. For efficient, high-quality machining, however, adequate pro-cesses are lacking. Scientists of KIT have developed a forming technology to structure quartz glass like a polymer. This innovation is reported in the journal Advanced Materials, 2018

Video: Glassomer-Processing Fused Silica Glass Like a Polymer

Air Coating Makes Ships Glide through the Water more Easily

Under the AIRCOAT EU project, researchers from all over Europe develop an air coating that reduces frictional resistance of ships. They use the salvinia effect studied by KIT, it allows an air layer to permanently exist under water. The project is coordinated scientifically by physicist and nanotechnology expert Professor Thomas Schimmel, KIT.

KIT Press Release


Electronic nose
Smelldect project at KIT’s Institute of Microstructure Technology

The electronic nose, like the human nose, perceives complex gas mixtures – i.e. scents – and can recognize them based on specific signal patterns.The objective of smelldect is to develop a low-cost olfactory sensor suited for mass production and everyday use.

KIT Press Release

Agent 007: Organic Molecules as Bearers of Secrets

KIT Scientists Design Chemical Compounds for Use as Passwords for Encrypted Information. They use a new and highly secure approach by combining computer science with chemistry and a conventional encryption method with a chemical password. Their development is now reported in an open access publication in Nature Communications, April 2018.

Groundbreaking for the ZEISS Innovation Hub @ KIT

New ZEISS Site at One of the Most Innovative Locations in Germany – New Space for Spinoffs and Enhanced Collaboration between Business and Academia – 12,000 m2 of Flexible Space Thanks to an Investment of EUR 30 Million

KIT Press Release

Microenergy Supply without Battery and Cable

KIT’s Startup otego GmbH Has Developed “oTEG,“ the First Commercial Printed Thermoelectric Generator Worldwide.

KIT Press Release

Why Perovskite Solar Cells Are So Efficient

Solar cells with efficiencies above 20% and produced at low costs – perovskites make this possible. Now, KIT-researchers have gained fundamental insight into the function of perovskite solar cells. They found that bound states of electron-hole pairs can form during the absorption of light. Still, these pairs can be separated easily for current to flow. In addition, they enhance absorption.

Appl. Phys. Lett., Jan 2018

3D Nanoprinting Facilitates Communication with Light

Researchers of KIT have how developed a new solution for the coupling of optical microchips to each other or to optical fibers. They use tiny beam-shaping elements that are printed directly onto the facets of optical components by a high-precision 3D printing process. These elements can be produced with nearly any three-dimensional shape and enable low-loss coupling of various optical components with a high positioning tolerance.

Nature Photonics, March 2018

Optical Distance Measurement at Record-High Speed

Graphic representation of measurement with a laser beam on a bullet. (Graphics: Christian Grupe, Philipp Trocha, KIT)

Microresonator-based optical frequency combs enable highly-precise optical distance ranging at a rate of 100 million measurements per second – publication in Science, Feb. 2018

DPG Prize for Superprecise 3D Laser Printing

Revolutionary 3D Laser Printing Process Is Used Worldwide – The German Physical Society Honors the Institute of Nanotechnology and the Innovation Management Service Unit of KIT as well as the Nanoscribe company.

KIT-Press Release

How Fungi Grow: A Movie from Inside the Cell

Fungi may be harmful pathogens. On the other hand, they are used for the production of food or medicine and in bioengineering. In either case, it is required to precisely understand their growth mechanism.Using high-performance light microscopy, KIT-Researchers watched mold fungi as they grew in the cell. The findings are presented in Science Advances

KIT Press Release

Scientists Observe Nanowires as They Grow

Report on a growth study of self-catalyzed GaAs nanowires based on time-resolved in situ X-ray structure characterization during molecular-beam-epitaxy in combination with ex situ scanning-electron-microscopy.

Nano Lett., Jan 2018
Komplexe Parkettmuster
Complex Tessellations, Extraordinary Materials

A surface-confined multistep reaction allows for the observation of the emergence of complexity through the formation of a defect-tolerant molecular network.

Nat. Chem., Jan 2018

Science: Metamaterial mit Dreheffekt

Kräfte von oben werden über Stege auf die senkrecht stehenden Ringstrukturen übertragen. Deren
Rotation übt zieht an den Ecken der waagerechten Flächen des Würfels.
Pressemitteilung des KIT

Fluoropor Beschichtung
Neuer Werkstoff schützt gegen Wasser und Schmutz

Transparente Beschichtung für Alltagsanwendungen

Neuer Werkstoff „Fluoropor“ lässt Wasser abperlen und widersteht Abrieb dank durchgehender Nano-/Mikrostruktur.

„Fluoropor“ als Beschichtung auf einer Kupfer-Dünnschicht.

Presseinformation des KIT

Stiefmütterchen hilft die Lichtausbeute bei Solarzellen zu erhöhen

Wissenschaftler am KIT kopieren Mikrostrukturen auf der Blüte und erhöhen die Leistung von Solarzellen

Presseinformation des KIT

Mikroskopie: Scharfer Blick auf empfindliche Proben

Neues Multifunktions-Elektronenmikroskop am KIT kann Strukturen in empfindlichen Materialien aufspüren. Nahaufnahme des neuen Multifunktions-Elektronenmikroskops am KIT.

Presseinformation des KIT

Quantensimulator: erster funktionierender Baustein

Supraleitender Quantensimulator übertrifft konventionellen Computer und könnte komplizierte biologische Prozesse wie den Pflanzenstoffwechsel abbilden
Quantenbits können im Gegensatz zu klassischen Bits zwei Zustände zugleich annehmen: rechts und links, gelb und blau, Null und Eins.

Presseinformation des KIT

Kernspinresonanz hohe Sensitivitaet auf engem Raum
Kernspinresonanz: hohe Sensitivität auf engem Raum

Zwei Lenz-Linsen in einem Helmholtz-Spulenpaar angeordnet. Die Simulation zeigt, wie die Lenz-Linsen den magnetischen Fluss räumlich fokussieren.

Presseinformation des KIT
Navigationssystem der Hirnzellen entschlüsselt

Hirnentwicklung in der Petrischale: Axone (gruen) der Nervenzellen der Netzhaut lesen beim Wachstum mit molekularen Antennen (magenta) an ihrem Ende chemische Signale, die zum Ziel führen.

Presseinformation des KIT