Research into “hybrid systems” of national significance
The new laboratory building for research into “hybrid systems” made up of organic and inorganic materials
Distinction has been an IRIS hallmark for quite some time now. After all, this “Integrative Research Institute for the Sciences” proved the decisive factor for the excellence status awarded to the Humboldt University of Berlin. Comprising seventeen study groups in total, it collaborates closely with university partners, nonuniversity research institutes, and industry.
This innovative association in Adlershof is to be given a new facelift, in the form of a laboratory building for research into “hybrid systems” made up of organic and inorganic materials. “It will therefore be possible to combine specifically the strengths of each material class and to compensate for their weaknesses,” explained IRIS Managing Director Nikolai Puhlmann. This often produces surprising properties that may be of interest for applications in optics, electronics, and photonics.
“Research of national significance”
The manufacture and research of these high potential hybrid systems, however, requires more space than available in the former barracks building that had been specially converted for IRIS. The argument that completely new laboratories are indispensable for chemophysical projects of such complexity convinced the scientific advisory committee. This committee also ascertained “research of national significance” and recommended the Federal Government and the States to provide 37.4 millions for the new building. According to Puhlmann, the utilised space of 4,700 square metres would easily fit between the two former barracks buildings.
Also personnel will experience a boost. A new professor is currently being engaged for the special field “Hybrid components”. “This is an interdisciplinary professorship that is to combine subjects from chemistry and physics,” explained Puhlmann. Such interdisciplinary constructions are characteristic of IRIS. For instance, the HU physicist Norbert Koch, who is also researching at the Helmholtz- Zentrum Berlin (HZB), holds an interdisciplinary chair of physics and chemistry, and the physicist Matthias Staudacher combines the subjects of mathematics and physics.
Theory of Everything
The same combination is also the responsibility of Alexander von Humboldt Professor Dirk Kreimer. Like Staudacher, this mathematician applies himself to the second focal subject of the IRIS portfolio: “space time material”. This takes up the natural scientists’ dream of describing the four fundamental forces in a unified theory. On this tricky search for the Theory of Everything, IRIS is collaborating with CERN in Geneva, the largest research centre in Europe.
By Paul Janositz for Adlershof Special
The development of the Science and Technology Park Berlin Adlershof was and is co-financed by the European Union namely by EFRE. This concerns infrastructure development like construction of technology centres. Furthermore EFRE is used for international projects.