Research into Nanoscopic Structures Included as Part of 10 New German Collaborative Research Centers

On 1 January 2008 the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) will establish ten new Collaborative Research Centres, which will receive a total of 74.4 million euros in funding over the next four years, as well as a lump sum of 20 percent to cover indirect costs incurred by the projects. The new Collaborative Research Centres (SFBs) will address a range of topics, including inflammation of the brain, the distribution of oxygen in tropical oceans, and nanoscopic structures in the macroscopic world. Other topics will include the neurobiological basis for behaviour, managing cycles in innovation processes, and the development of high brilliance lasers and other novel components. Two of the ten newly established Collaborative Research Centres are Transregional Collaborative Research Centres, which are based at more than one location.

At its meeting in Bonn on 20-21 November, the relevant Grants Committee also approved the continuation of 26 existing SFBs for an additional funding period. The DFG will thus fund a total of 259 Collaborative Research Centres as of the beginning of next year. In total, they will receive 403 million euros in funding in 2008, plus the 20 percent programme overhead.

The new Collaborative Research Centres related to nanotechnology are:

Surface physics, magnetism, semiconductor physics, materials science and theoretical physics are the common elements of SFB 762 “Functionality of Oxidic Interfaces”. The researchers involved, from Halle, Leipzig and Magdeburg, will investigate the production of oxide heterostructures and the characterisation of their structural, ferroelectric, magnetic and electronic properties using state-of-the-art scientific methods and equipment. In addition to producing new fundamental insights, this work is also of high practical relevance, for instance for the development of new types of sensors and computer memory. (Host university: Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg. Coordinator: Ingrid Mertig)

SFB 765 “Multivalency as a Chemical Organisation and Action Principle: New Architectures, Functions and Applications” aims to lay the necessary groundwork for answering key issues in biological and material sciences. In this SFB, scientists from the Free University of Berlin plan to cooperate with other institutions in Berlin to study the phenomenon of multivalency in detail, paying particular attention to the fundamental chemical and biological mechanisms and molecular architectures. In the long term, they hope their work will lead to the development of novel multivalent molecules that may be of great importance for use in inhibiting inflammation or providing protection against viral infections, as well as for optimising surfaces. (Host university: Free University of Berlin. Coordinator: Rainer Haag)

SFB 767 “Controlled Nanosystems: Interaction and Interfacing to the Macroscale” will investigate one of the key areas of research in the 21st century. Participating researchers from Constance and Stuttgart aim to discover how nanostructures interact with each other and with macroscopic structures – issues that are of fundamental importance for nanotechnology, but which have not yet been systematically addressed. The theoretical and experimental studies they plan promise to not only yield key insights into the basic science of nanostructures, but also a wide variety of applications in the fields of telecommunications and data storage as well as for highly integrated circuits. (Host university: University of Konstanz. Coordinator: Elke Scheer)

SFB 787 “Semiconductors – Nanophotonics: Materials, Models, Components” aims to develop novel photonic and nanophotonic components from a variety of materials. The researchers, from Berlin and Magdeburg, will combine three complementary areas of research: material science, modelling, and production and characterisation of components. This will allow theoreticians and experimental researchers to collaborate closely in basic and applied areas. Working on this basis, they hope, in the long term, to be able to generate very high frequency and ultrashort pulses with laser diodes and semiconductor amplifiers as well as high brilliance lasers in the infra-red to green spectral range. (Host university: Technical University of Berlin. Coordinator: Michael Kneissl)

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