Engineering of Advanced Materials

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Cluster of Excellence

Engineering of Advanced Materials

EAM Professorships


Prof. Dr. Michael Engel

Modeling of self-organization processes - Research Area A3

Michael Engel – EAM W1 junior professor of modeling of self-organization processes. Professor Engel started his work in February 2016 at the Institute for Multiscale Simulation (MSS). Michael Engel studied physics and mathematics at the University of Stuttgart where he received his doctoral degree for his work on complex metallic alloys using computer simulations under the supervision of Professor Hans-Rainer Trebin at the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Physics in 2008. He then changed his focus to soft matter and nanoscience and, after a stay at Kyushu University in Japan, joined Professor Sharon Glotzer’s group at the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. First as a DFG fellow and later as a research scientist, he investigated problems involving self-assembling shapes, packing and aperiodic order with computer simulations. His current interests are self-assembly processes and dynamics at the molecular, nanoscale and colloidal level using high-performance scientific computing, statistical mechanics and crystallography with the goal of developing new functional materials.

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Prof. Dr. Peter Felfer

Atom Probe Tomography - Research Area A2

Peter Felfer took up his position as W1 Juniorprofessor of Atom Probe Tomography at the Institute I: General Materials Properties (WW1) in September 2015. Peter Felfer, born in Austria, was an early starter in the field of materials. He first came into contact with the matter in 1996 when he entered a school for higher vocational education (Höhere Technische Lehranstalt) in the Department of Materials Engineering. In 2001, after community service, he moved to the University of Leoben to study materials science and in parallel work at the Institute of Physical Metallurgy in the field of failure analysis. Entering his master thesis, he developed a strong interest in atomic scale materials characterization, working on the newly installed atom probe in the lab. This led him to pursue a PhD thesis in one of the leading institutions in the field, the Australian Centre of Microscopy and Microanalysis in Sydney, Australia under the supervision of Prof. J. Cairney and Prof. S. Ringer. In his PhD thesis, he developed new methods to access atomic scale information from a variety of structural and functional materials using the atom probe. After graduating, he shifted his focus towards giving an entirely new field of research access to atom probe tomography data: particle technology. This research interest will be a strong focus of the Felfer group within the coming years and is in excellent alignment with current research at EAM.

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Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hannsjörg Freund

Catalytic Reactors and Process Technology - Research Area D

Hannsjörg Freund joined the FAU as W2 Professor for Catalytic Reactors and Process Technology at the Institute of Chemical Reaction Engineering in January 2012 as a recipient of the EAM Award which provides a 750,000 EUR research grant. He is member of the EAM Executive Board and Speaker of EAMs Graduate School “Advanced Materials and Processes”. He was appointed Chair of the Process Development Division Area “Process Intensification” of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) in 2013 and Member of the Advisory Board of the ProcessNet Reaction Engineering Division in 2015. The focus of his research is on the model-based design of optimal chemical reactors for highly efficient processes. For this purpose, he combines methods and tools of conceptual process design, analysis and optimization with detailed simulations for the computer-aided catalyst support design, complemented by key experiments for data retrieval, phenomenological analysis, and validation purposes.

Prof. Freund studied Chemical Engineering at the FAU. Till 2005 he carried out his PhD research in Erlangen under the supervision of Prof. G. Emig. In 2005 he joined the Physical and Chemical Process Engineering Department (Prof. K. Sundmacher) at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems in Magdeburg. He established his research group in the field of process intensification with special focus on the model-based design of catalytic reactors and integrated processes. In addition, he was a lecturer at both the University of Magdeburg and the International Max Planck Research School. During his research stay at the State Key Laboratory of Chemical Engineering in Shanghai in 2010, he was a guest lecturer at the East China University of Science and Technology.

Important awards include the Chemical Engineering Science “Most Cited Paper 2003-2006” and “Top Cited Papers 2011-2012” award, the Hanns Hofmann Award of the ProcessNet Reaction Engineering Division in 2010 and the above-mentioned EAM “Erlangen Excellence in Engineering of Advanced Materials Award” in 2011.

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Prof. Robin Klupp Taylor, MEng, DPhil (Oxon)

Nanostructured Particles - Research Area A1/C

Robin Klupp Taylor became the first EAM W1 Junior Professor for Nanostructured Particles in March 2008. In response to an call to the Technische Universität München he was successfully tenured in August 2014 (Associate Professor for Nanostructured Particles - W2).  From 2012 - 2015 he was one of the two heads of the the international elite Master's Program in Advanced Materials and Processes (MAP).

His research focus is on nanoparticle synthesis, direct and indirect control of colloidal interactions and nanocoating techniques. These are all tools which can be used to engineer novel nanostructures with multiple functionalities. Materials of interest include UV-absorbing zinc oxide/polymer nanocomposite spheres, tunable plasmonic nanoparticles and light diffracting superparamagnetic beads. Prof. Klupp Taylor is based at the Institute of Particle Technology (LFG) in the Department of Chemical and Bioengineering. He contributed to EAM’s Industrial Liaison Program by leading an interdisciplinary collaborative project with BASF SE from 2007–2010 regarding the theoretical design, synthesis and validation of structured particles for optical applications. Robin Klupp Taylor studied Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Oxford. Following a year of research and study at Rice University (USA) during which he developed metal nanoshells under the supervision of Prof. Naomi Halas he returned to Oxford for his doctorate. His dissertation, entitled Self-assembled colloidal multifunctional nanostructures was supervised by Prof. Peter Dobson and Dr. John Hutchison. Prof. Klupp Taylor then worked at nanotech spin-off, Oxonica Ltd, before spending 3 years at Johnson Matthey PLC. During this period he worked on a government-funded industrial project to develop know-how for flexible dye-sensitized solar cells. In 2008 Prof. Klupp Taylor moved to Erlangen to join the Institute of Particle Technology and EAM. In May 2011 he was awarded an EAM Starting Grant (100,000 EUR) for his project "Scalable and tunable synthesis and assembly of multiply anisotropic colloids".

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Prof. Dr. Sabine Maier

Experimental Physics (Scanning Probe Microscopy) - Research Area A2/B

Sabine Maier was appointed as W1 Junior Professor for Scanning Probe Microscopy within the EAM’s Rising Star program at the Physics Department of the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg in October 2010. In Semptember 2016 she was successfully tenured (Associate Professor (W2) Experimental Physics - Scanning Probe Microscopy).
She studied physics at the University of Basel in Switzerland. She did her PhD in Basel in the group of Prof. E. Meyer and received her doctoral degree in 2007. During one year of her dissertation she worked as a researcher for Prof. R. Bennewitz at the McGill University in Montreal (Canada). From 2007 to 2010 she was a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. M. Salmeron at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, University of California Berkeley. Her research experience comprises several aspects of surface science based on scanning probe microscopy, including self-assembly of organic molecules on insulating substrates, nanotribology, as well as the structure and reaction of small molecules on catalytic active substrates. In March 2012 she was appointed as a member of the “Förderkolleg der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften" with her research project "Self-assembly and molecular structure of ultrathin films using scanning probe microscopy". In May 2013 she was awarded an EAM Starting Grant (100,000 EUR) for her project “Structure and electronics properties of hybrid organic-inorganic interfaces”. In November 2014 she received the ERC Starting Grant worth 1.5 million EUR for her project SURFLINK - Molecular carpets on insulating surfaces: rational design of covalent networks.

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Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Dr. Ing. Thorsten Pöschel

Multiscale Simulation of Particulate Systems - Research Area A3

The Institute for Multiscale Simulation of Particulate Systems was the first EAM funded institute to be appointed in December 2008. The institute headed by Thorsten Pöschel was created to strengthen the Cluster’s expertise in Modeling and Simulation.
In particular, the focus of his research is the relation between nanoscale and microscale particle properties on the one hand and macroscopic material characteristics on the other. In EAM, he studies this multi-scale problem by means of numerical simulations on the relevant length and time scales, using a variety of numerical approaches.
Thorsten Pöschel studied Physics at the University of Chemnitz and at the Electrotechnical Institute in St. Petersburg (Russia). He graduated from the Humboldt University in Berlin with a PhD in Theoretical Physics, and at the University of Dresden he obtained the degree of Doctor in Engineering in the field of Electronics. From 1990 to 2000 he worked as a research assistant at the Humboldt University in Berlin, from 2000 to 2007 as an assistant professor for Biophysics and Bioinformatics at the Charité in Berlin. During this period he assumed post doctorate positions at a number of academic institutions, including Saarland University, the University of Chicago, John von Neumann Institute for Computing in Jülich, ESPCI ParisTech in Paris, the University of Stuttgart, the University of California, Santa Barbara as well as a visiting professorship in Puebla, Mexico. Prior to his appointment at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg and EAM, he had been Professor for Theoretical Physics at the University of Bayreuth.

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Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Ana-Suncana Smith

Theoretical Physics - Research Area A3

In October 2009 Ana-Sunčana Smith was appointed W1 Junior Professor for Theoretical Physics within the EAM’s Rising Star program. In response to an attractive call to a professorship at the Rudjer Boskovic Institute in Zagreb, Ana Smith has become the first Rising Star Juniorprofessor of EAM to be successfully tenured in October 2012. Her primary research interest lies in modeling and designing the adhesive properties of soft fluid interfaces. This means working at the crossover between the molecular and the microscopic length scales, to make progress in this field but also to open new research directions in connection with some of the very exciting research occurring at EAM.
Ana-Sunčana Smith received her general education at the Physics department of the University of Zagreb, Croatia, where she graduated in June 2001. Her diploma on the origins of hydrophobicity was performed at the Department of Applied Mathematics, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia. Her doctoral studies were undertaken at TU Munich with Prof. E. Sackmann between February 2002 and December 2004. Here she specialized in the theoretical modeling of cell adhesion processes under the guidance of Prof. U. Seifert. In September 2006, she became a research associate in the group of Prof. U. Seifert at the Institute for Theoretical Physics II, University of Stuttgart.
In March 2011 she was appointed as member of the "Förderkolleg der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften" with her research project "Biophysical modeling of elastic surfaces". Additionally, she received an EAM Starting Grant worth 100,000 EUR for her project “Multiscale modeling and construction of a self-propelled micro device for cargo transport" in May 2011. In June 2013 she was awarded an ERC Starting Grant worth 1.5 million EUR for her project "MembranesAct - Biological Membranes in Action: A Unified Approach to Complexation, Scaffolding and Active Transport".

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Website PULS group - Physics Underlying Lifescience


Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Michael Stingl

Applied Mathematics - Research Area A3

Since May 2009 Michael Stingl has served as W1 Junior Professor for Applied Mathematics within the Cluster’s Rising Star program. In 2014 his position was sucessfully tenured in a W3-professorship for Mathematical Optimization, after he had received several attractive calls to other universities. His scientific focus at EAM is the development of lightweight and meta-materials by means of structural optimization in close cooperation with Research Area E Engineering of Lightweight Materials. For his thesis as a student of Mathematics at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Michael Stingl developed optimization algorithms to solve complex problems with a mechanical application background. He then worked on a project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and made several research appointments, including stays at the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) and the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic in Prague. Michael Stingl focused his research on free material optimization, a new technology in the development of composite materials. This lead to the design of the Airbus A 380’s “Leading Edge Rib”, which boasts a reduction in weight of over 33 percent. The optimization software PENNON he developed during his dissertation work is unique worldwide and is used in numerous areas of application such as structure optimization, optimal process control, and financial mathematics. Recently he has been heading the EAM Focal Topic ”Numerical optimization based on predictive models“ as well the work group “Simulation” within the collaborative research center “Additive Manufacturing”.

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Prof. Dr. Tobias Unruh

Nanomaterial Characterization - Research Area A2

Tobias Unruh joined the FAU as W2 Professor for Nanomaterials Characterization at the Chair of Crystallography and Structural Physics in November 2010. In Erlangen, he heads the Scattering Methods division of the Center for Nanoanalysis and Electron Microscopy. His research is focused on structural properties of nanoscaled organic and inorganic materials as well as on relaxation processes of complex systems. The experimental methods used (SAXS, SANS, GISAXS, GIXD) are best suited for in-situ measurements of native samples with time resolutions ranging from microseconds to hours allowing for kinetic studies. Detailed insights into molecular dynamics on a subpico- to nanosecond time range is achieved by quasielastic and inelastic neutronscattering (QENS, INS) and MD simulations. Current research topics are structure formation of printed organic solar cells during the drying process, formation and aging of ZnO quantum dots in solution, studies of the complex structure of dispersions of organic nanoparticles for pharmaceutical applications, and studies for the understanding of the diffusion mechanism of short polymers in the melt. Tobias Unruh was awarded a PhD by Saarland University in Saarbrücken for his study of the structural properties of hydrogen intercalates of transition metal oxides. He continued his work on the structural property relations of materials at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena as a post-doc and scientific assistant at the Chair of Pharmaceutical Technology. During this time he studied dispersions of organic colloids mainly by small-angle X-ray, neutron and light scattering and calorimetry. After moving to the Technical University of Munich (TUM) in 2001, he managed the construction, commissioning, and the user operation of the neutron time-of-flight spectrometer TOFTOF at the research neutron source Heinz Maier-Leibnitz in Garching. He also established a research group to study the picosecond dynamics of molecular liquids, phospholipid membranes, and the mesoscopic structure of colloidal dispersions at the TOFTOF facility.

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Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Nicolas Vogel

Particle Synthesis – Research Area A1

Nicolas Vogel started his work in Erlangen as W2 Professor for Particle Synthesis at the Institute of Particle Technology on December 1, 2014.

He studied chemistry at the Johannes- Gutenberg-Universität in Mainz and Seoul National University, Republic of Korea and received his PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz in the group of Prof. Katharina Landfester focusing on the generation of surface patterns with colloidal monolayers in 2011. In 2012 he joined the Biomimetic and Biomineralization group of Prof. Joanna Aizenberg at the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. Research Area A1 Functional Particle Systems will be greatly strengthened by his expertise and research experience in colloidal synthesis and characterization, their self-assembly in two and three dimensions and the creation of materials and surface structures from colloidal templating. Prof. Vogel replaces Prof. Oliver Diwald who accepted a call to the Department for Materials Science and Physics at the University of Salzburg.

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Former EAM Professors

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Oliver Diwald

Particle Synthesis - Research Area A1
Oliver Diwald joined EAM as Professor for Particle Synthesis at the Institute of Particle Technology (LFG) in May 2009. As part of his professorship, Oliver Diwald was involved in the activities of the Center for Functional Particle Technology of the EAM. In April 2013 he took a new position at the Department for Materials Science and Physics at the University of Salzburg.

In Erlangen Oliver Diwald and his group focused on the chemical and physical activity of specific local bulk and interface structures that contribute to a specific function of an oxide nanoparticle ensemble. Different particle synthesis techniques such as chemical vapor synthesis or hydrothermal processing have been used. These activities included methods for the controlled doping of the nanoparticle’s bulk and/or the surface as well as procedures that aim at the use of nanoparticles as support for the stabilization of another component at ultra-high dispersion. At the same time the Diwald group developed spectroscopy-based methods to quantitatively determine functional sites in powdered materials, such as chemically reactive surface species, optically active defects and impurities, or sites which control the fate of photo-excited states.

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Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dipl.-Kfm. Bastian Etzold

Catalytic Materials - Research Area D
In January 2010 Bastian Etzold was appointed W1 Junior Professor for Catalytic Materials at the Institute of Chemical Reaction Engineering within the Rising Star program of EAM. In 2015 he declined the call to a full professorship in chemical engineering at the Queens University Belfast and has since April 2015 been tenured as Associate Professor for Catalytic Materials. In December 2015 he took a positon as professor for Technical Chemistry at TU Darmstadt.

Prof. Etzold’s research at EAM focused on chemical reaction engineering methodologies in materials research. The synthesis of advanced functional materials and their application in energy related fields especially in catalysis were studied.

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Prof. Dr. Sandra Korte-Kerzel

Micromechanics of Materials - Research Area E
Sandra Korte-Kerzel started to work as W1 Junior Professor for Micromechanics of Materials at the Institute for General Materials Properties in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in October 2011. In June 2013 she left EAM to accept an offer as Director of the Institute for Physical Metallurgy and Metal Physics at the RWTH Aachen.

At EAM, Sandra Korte-Kerzel’s interests focused on the application of micromechanical testing techniques to observe and characterize deformation of the hierarchical and nanostructured materials developed at the Cluster. With her work she aimed to investigate and expand the current understanding of the competition of plasticity and fracture at the microscale to support the design of new structural materials.

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Prof. Graeme Whyte, DPhil

Optofluidics - Research Area C
Graeme Whyte was W1 Junior Professor for Optofluidics at the Institute of Condensed Matter Physics in the Department of Physics. In March 2012 he joined the University Erlangen-Nürnberg in the framework of the EAM Rising Star Program. In September 2014 he took up his position as associate professor / reader at the Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh.

In EAM he developed and used novel microfluidic and biophotonic tools to measure the nuclear properties of living cells. His research focussed on using optical trapping to study the structure of the cell nucleus with higer precision, and on using optical and microfluidic methods for measuring the mechanical properties of the nucleus to understand how genetic and expression level changes can alter the physical properties of the nucleus.

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Prof. Jana Zaumseil, PhD (Cantab.)

Nanoelectronics - Research Area B
Within the framework of the EAM Awards scheme Jana Zaumseil was appointed W2 Professor for Nanoelectronics in October 2009, receiving resources of 750,000 EUR. The focus of her research in EAM was on nanomaterials that absorb and emit light in the near infrared like carbon nanotubes and some inorganic nanocrystals. These materials can be used in photodetectors, solar cells, and light-emitting devices that operate at a wavelength range invisible to the human eye, but are quite important for many applications such as in vivo imaging, telecommunication, night vision, and many more. The goal was to understand their charge transport and photophysical properties and apply them in a range of optoelectronic devices.

In 2010 she received the Alfried Krupp Prize for Young Professors by the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Foundation coming with a grant of 1 million EUR to be paid over five years. In 2012 she has been awarded an ERC Starting Grant by the European Research Council for her project “EN-LUMINATE” worth 1.5 million EUR. In October 2014 she took up her new position as director (W3 professorship) of the Chair of Applied Physical Chemistry at the University of Heidelberg.

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