Interdisciplinary research into nanotechnology

Gruppenbild zur Schlüsselübergabe
High-profile guests from politics and industry including the Bavarian Minister of Science Bernd Sibler and the Bavarian Minister of the Interior Joachim Herrmann attended the official inauguration ceremony for the new Interdisciplinary Centre for Nanostructured Films, covering an area of approximately 4,600 square meters. (Image: FAU/Erich Malter)

Inauguration of new Interdisciplinary Centre for Nanostructured Films at FAU

Approximately 250 researchers and doctoral candidates have found a new home: the Interdisciplinary Centre for Nanostructured Films (IZNF) at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), a new research building at the University’s southern campus covering an area of approximately 4,600 square metres. Two Bavarian ministers attended the official inauguration ceremony at FAU, together with other high-profile guests from politics and industry.

Cutting-edge research complex

‘It is crucial that the researchers of today think beyond the boundaries of their own discipline. The new Interdisciplinary Centre for Nanostructured Films is a successful example of how this can work in practice. The eleven working groups are not only from different Chairs at FAU, they also benefit from being in the vicinity of partner establishments such as the Fraunhofer Institute IISB, the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, the Bavarian Centre for Applied Energy Research (ZAE) and the Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nürnberg (HI-ERN),’ emphasised FAU President Prof. Dr Joachim Hornegger in his welcoming speech.

The new building, which cost 41.7 million euros to build, is home to various chemistry and physics laboratories, areas equipped with highly sensitive measuring instruments as well as office space and conference rooms. Managed and overseen by the State Construction Office of Erlangen-Nuremberg, a cutting-edge research complex has now been opened three years after the first stone was laid. With the new IZNF, which is part of the Cluster of Excellence ‘Engineering of Advanced Materials’ (EAM), FAU is expanding its established expertise in the areas of new materials and processes, and optics and photonic technologies with a new interdisciplinary centre for nanostructured films.

Bavarian Minister of Science Bernd Sibler stressed: ‘The INZF is set to reinforce FAU’s standing as a centre of excellence in research. The new centre will boost the reputation of research conducted at the Faculty of Engineering at the southern campus in Erlangen. Our researchers here in Erlangen are working today on the innovative solutions of tomorrow!’

Thin films at the nanoscale

Researchers at the IZNF will concentrate both on fundamental and applied research.  They are working on developing new methods for cutting films with atomic precision and structuring them in the nanometer range, investigating their intrinsic properties and researching their chemical, physical and mechanical characteristics. This new technology is used, for example, in medical engineering, in the chemical industry, in sensors and electronics and in photovoltaics. Even a mobile phone has billions of different types of thin films in the transistors in its microprocessor, in its screen and in its memory. It is hoped that research at the IZNF will lead to a better understanding of the properties of these films, making components more efficient and productive as a result.

Top location for top research

According to the Bavarian Minister of the Interior Joachim Herrmann, who was involved directly in the building of the new research centre in his previous position of Minister of Construction, the inaugural ceremony is a milestone for Erlangen as a location of cutting-edge research which is immensely important not only within Bavaria but far beyond as well. ‘Our pioneering new research building is an important link between fundamental research and its practical application. It contributes to reinforcing FAU’s leading position in Germany and at an international level.’ Herrmann also praised the speed of the building work: ‘The vision of a new research building was only able to be realised so quickly thanks to the outstanding quality of co-operation between architects, project managers, scientists, engineers, technicians, workmen and builders.’

Dr Florian Janik, mayor of the City of Erlangen, underlined in his welcoming words that ‘Erlangen is a major location for cutting-edge research. Friedrich-Alexander-Universität and the scientists who work here are never satisfied with the success they have attained, day after day they keep working to push the boundaries of research ever further and find new, innovative approaches. The Interdisciplinary Centre for Nanostructured Films is a further impressive example of this.’

‘This new building demonstrates the trust placed in us as scientists. At the same time, future co-operation partners see that it is worth investing here in research and development – at the end of the day, it benefits everyone,’ said Prof. Dr Julien Bachmann, spokesman of the IZNF and Chair of Chemistry of Thin Film Materials in his speech.

After the speeches, Dieter Maußner, Head of the State Construction Office Erlangen-Nuremberg, symbolically handed over the key. In his words, ‘This new building is an example of precision at its best – costs and the time needed for planning and construction all remained within the previously agreed framework.’

Further information:

Prof. Dr. Julien Bachmann
Phone: +49 9131 85 70551