Non-crystalline materials, in the form of bulk gases, fibers, films and particles, are key components in a wide range of optical and energy systems across material classes.
Beyond the classical melt-based processing of these materials, the deposition of amorphous condensates from liquid and gas phases offers highly interesting opportunities for the development of functional material architectures. Especially for modern applications in optics, photonics and energy technology (i.e., for the generation of materials of highest purity, complex functionality and/or in the form of thin films), this synthesis route is already indispensable in numerous applications (such as for laser sources, solar modules, LEDs, electrical energy storage devices, light guides, catalysts).
This strongly relates to one of the central core competencies of the Jena region, where the development of state-of-the-art materials and systems in optics and photonics is increasingly expanding to applications in energy conversion and storage as well as medical diagnostics as global technologies of the future via the focus on production and metrology. This takes place in close cooperation between academic basic research and industrial implementation at the highest international level.
Consistently, the focus on "Light" forms one of the three profile lines of the Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena and integrates the numerous non-university research institutions (Leibniz IPHT, Fraunhofer IOF and IKTS, Helmholtz HIJ) with university working groups that are excellently positioned worldwide. Finally, the regional strength is reflected in a number of successful cluster initiatives such as in laser physics through nano-optical material and system developments within the BMBF-ZIK "UltraOptics", through applications of medical photonics and sensor technology as well as nanomedicine in the BMBF research campus "InfectoGnostics" or the sepsis center CSCC.
In this context, the development of materials technology or chemistry always forms the central component of the new system. The provision of adapted high-performance materials is thus an essential basis and a major potential generator. This becomes very clear, for example, in the field of fiber technology, (optical) functional layers and electrical energy storage. The great challenge of materials research today is to find order in disorder, i.e. to derive physical relationships between synthesis, structure formation as well as the resulting material properties in non-crystalline materials despite the absence of clear, repeatable structural principles and atomistic building rules applicable over a macroscopic material.
After the concentration of the existing materials science competence at the Friedrich-Schiller-University, especially in the field of classical glass materials, in the newly created structure of the cross-faculty Otto Schott Institute for Materials Research (OSIM), a further profiling and strengthening of the research field is now to be achieved through the establishment of a junior research group "Gas and Liquid Phase Deposition of Functional Non-Crystalline Materials". The scientific focus is on material-chemical principles and synthesis strategies for the targeted optimization of properties of optical and energy-technical high-performance materials.
This is achieved by integrating both atomistic simulation techniques and analytical methods for structure formation processes against the background of a permanent bridge-building between the research-strong university centers Abbe Center of Photonics (ACP), Jena Center for Soft Matter (JCSM) and the Center for Energy and Environmental Chemistry (CEEC), which was newly founded in 2014.