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The doctoral program GRK 1896 “In situ Microscopy with Electrons, X-rays and Scanning Probes” combines, for the first time, three pillars of nanocharacterization into a structured research training group. The main objective of this program is to provide the next generation of scientists and engineers with comprehensive, method-spanning and interdisciplinary training in the application of cutting-edge nanocharacterization tools to materials and device development. Our PhD candidates are well-positioned in a network of international collaborations and highly trained in multiple, complementary techniques, providing them with an essential foundation for a successful career in the field of advanced materials and devices development.

The Cluster of Excellence Engineering of Advanced Materials – Hierarchical Structure Formation for Functional Devices (EAM) is the only interdisciplinary research collaboration of its type in Germany to focus on the investigation of functional materials and their processing at all length scales. Its research centers on the fundamental and applied aspects of designing and creating novel high-performance materials. Situated at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) it is part of the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments.

 

The guiding theme of this interdisciplinary Research Training Group (RTG) are processes in and on biomembranes, spanning different time and length scales. Research in the RTG focusses on the interplay of lipids and proteins as the major components of biomembranes. In particular, the RTG addresses the mechanisms underlying the localization of lipids and proteins in membranes, and the relationships be- tween the specific membrane composition and dynamics, protein-lipid interaction, and force transmission across membranes with regard to the manifold membrane functions in cells. Accordingly, the research programme encompasses structural and functional studies of biomolecules on the atomistic (protein and membrane structures), mesoscopic (e.g. membrane-receptor interactions, diffusion), and macroscopic scale (membrane internalization, cell growth, tissues). Thereby, the RTG is expected to yield insight into the structural and functional determinants of membrane-bound and membrane-assisted biological pro- cesses – such as recognition processes at membranes, or directed growth mechanisms – and to contribute significantly to improving current models of plasma membranes.

The properties of ultra-thin layers of large organic molecules like porphyrins, phthalocyanines, and other tetrapyrroles on oxide and dielectric substrates offer potential applications in the fields of molecular electronics, solar energy conversion, catalysis, sensor development, and biointerfacial engineering. There is one common feature to all application-related research in these areas: The functional organic units constituting the organic films are synthesized with atomic precision but the oxide bonding sites, the interaction mechanisms, and the structure formation processes on the dielectric substrate remain poorly understood at the microscopic level. Some information on the interaction of functional groups with oxide surfaces is available for small molecules but the transfer to larger systems is entirely unexplored from a surface science perspective. Despite the practical relevance of the emerging field of organic/oxide interfaces, it is apparent that, from a surface science point of view, the research area is in its very infancy.

The Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) hosts probably the largest and most productive pioneering community in Europe or even worldwide at the forefront of carbon allotrope research. Erlangen is the only place, where all fields of carbon research – the chemistry , the physics, and the materials engineering of fullerenes, carbon nanotubes, graphene, and of new synthetic carbon allotropes – are represented. The SFB 953 ‘Synthetic Carbon Allotropes’ therefore constitutes the ideal forum to advance the unifying knowledge on carbon science approaching the desired goal of creating new materials for high-performance applications.

The SFB/Transregio 103 consists of 22 individual research projects, working in three topical areas (A: Property Assessment, B: Processing and Alloy Development, C: Scale Bridging Materials Modelling). Cross sectional research groups ensure that there is a good collaboration between the researchers from these different areas. The first funding period (2012-15) was successfully completed. Here we briefly report on the SFB/TR 103 acitivities in its second funding period (2016-2019).