Structures with dimensions from below one micrometer down to the size of only a few or even single atoms are currently subject of intense research worldwide. These nanostructures (1 nanometer = 1 millionth of a millimeter) form the basis of nanotechnology, which is often referred to as "key technology of the 21st century". In fact, there are already a number of nanotechnological products on the market, such as highly disperse fluids, emulsions or powders. More ground-breaking developments in other fields, e.g., circuit architecture or software design in computer science, are to be expected from significant advances in nanotechnology.
Besides the mere reduction in size, which in itself already results in characteristics quite dissimilar from the bulk, nanostructures can exhibit a number of fundamentally different and novel properties compared to their macroscopic counterparts. It is the aim of nanotechnology to understand and exploit these properties. It thus comprises basic research in physics and chemistry as well as many areas of applications, such as materials science, chemical and electrical engineering.
At the CFN we focus on the study of nanostructures with specific and dedicated functionality. More specifically, we concentrate on components with the potential for optical and electronic applications, including electronic transfer processes between a nanostructure and the underlying substrate.
These elements cannot be realized without novel nano-scaled structures and materials. At the CFN we investigate components designed to perform the required specific functions. For nano-optical devices, priority is given to semiconductors and dielectric materials as raw materials. Research on nano-electronic transport systems focuses primarily on metallic and semiconducting systems. For electronic transport in molecular structures, the materials of choice with the relevant properties have yet to be determined. To this end we explore a multitude of supramolecular structures and clusters to identify the systems best suited for a specific application.
In line with these aims research at the CFN comprises five areas: (A) Nano-Photonics, (B) Nano-Electronics, (C) Molecular Nanostructures, (E) Nano-Biology and (F) Nano-Energy. The projects within these five areas are cooperations between the faculties of Physics, Chemistry and Life Sciences, as well as Electrical Engineering and Information Technology.
As a central facility the Nanostructure Service Laboratory with its state-of-the-art major equipment provides services to all researchers at the CFN.
Membership in the CFN
Currently 47 group leaders participate in the CFN. An important aspect of our Research Center is the fact that highly qualified young scientists can become members of the CFN with the same rights and responsibilities as full professors associated with the Center.