Research Projects funded by German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

nanoGRAVUR - Grouping of nanostructured materials for protection of workers, consumers, the environment and risk minimisation(2015 - 2018)

Nanotechnology offers numerous new applications in various areas of industry (e.g., in the chemical industry, electrical engineering, and medical engineering). The specific challenge lies in the optimal use of the potentials of these partially new technologies and, at the same time, in their responsible handling.
In view of the large variety of existing synthetic nanomaterials, some of which have been used for decades in conventional products and most of which, besides, are available in numerous modifications (different sizes, shapes, chemical composition, and surface functionalisation), the effort of analysing their behaviour and effects while observing specific regulatory requirements is tremendous. Regarding the variability of possible effects, it is, in addition, impossible, to assess the potential risk for each individual nanomaterial.

The current state of knowledge on the hazard of nanomaterials towards protected assets is so complex that the nanoGRAVUR project made it its central objective to develop different criteria catalogues for a grouping of nanomaterials according to the respective potentials for exposure, hazard and risk. The grouping approach, which so far has been used only in special cases (e.g. for fibres), can, among other things be used in areas such as occupational health and safety, product identification, and regulation, which presently still must rely on individual case studies.

Contact: PD Dr. Thomas Kuhlbusch (Coordinator)

INNOKAT – Integration and application of ligand-free and controlled ligand-functionalized nanoparticles in catalysis (2013 – 2017)

The scientists of the project INNOKAT research into a new approach for the preparation of heterogeneous catalysts. Their most important components, nanoparticles of noble metals, sustain the catalytic reactions. The purer the surface of these particles is, the more active they are. Therefore, the nanoparticles used here are produced by laser ablation: Constant laser pulses hit on a small plate of precious metal lying in a liquid, eg water. Thus, the laser shoots out tiny particles from the surface, which immediately disperse in the liquid and remain stable without adjuvants. So they do not need potentially toxic or deactivating stabilizers and offer their complete free surface for the reactions. The project has started on July 1st and will initially be funded for four years within "NanoMatFutur".

Contact: M. Sc. Galina Marzun (Project Head)

Nanoscale III-V/Silicon Heterostructures for Highly Efficient Photovoltaic Cells (2011-2014)

By using quantum well systems, the aim of this overall project is to prove that the Shockley-Queisser limit (the maximum theoretical efficiency of a photovoltaic cell) can be exceeded without having to use multiple-layer cells. In addition to the University of Duisburg-Essen, the project brings together a number of other institutions such as Helmholtz Center Berlin, Ilmenau University of Technology, Berlin University of Technology, CiS Research Institute for Microsensor systems and Photovoltaics in Erfurt, the Azurspace company from Heilbronn as well as Humboldt University of Berlin. Within the scope of the sub-project “Growth and Integral Properties of Coaxial Nanowire Photovoltaic Cells", which is currently taking place in the University of Duisburg-Essen, coaxial p-i-n core shell nanowires are produced and examined in relation to their photovoltaic cell properties. These nanowires offer several advantages owing to their larger surface areas which provide sufficient light absorption but also shorten charge carrier transportation paths. These advantages and further key benefits, such as the possibility of epitaxy on silicon substrates, are likely to bring about significant cost reductions compared with previous high-performance photovoltaic cells.

Contact: Prof. Dr. F.-J. Tegude (Project Head)

NaKoLiA – Nanocomposites for Lithium-Ion Anodes (2012-2014)

One of the aims of the "NaKoLiA" project, which focuses on using new, nanostructured material for anodes, is to produce batteries that last longer, conserve more energy, and contain fewer flammable materials. CENIDE scientists are aiming to reduce the weight, size, charge time, and cost of lithium-ion batteries while also increasing storage capacity. And they hope to achieve this without the use of toxic substances. The “VIP – Validation of The Innovation Potential of Scientific Research” scheme, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, focuses on further developing results from basic research for industrial application. The ultimate goal here is commercialization.

Contact: Dr. Hartmut Wiggers (Project Head)
Prof. Dr. Angelika Heinzel (Project Head)

NanoGem – Nanostructured materials – Health, Exposition, and Material Properties (2011-2013)

The aim of the NanoGem project “Nanostructured Materials – Health, Exposition, and Material Properties” is to help clarify whether nanomaterials can be hazardous to humans, and if so, to what extent. The main questions here are as follows: Can nanoparticles be absorbed by the body? And if so, how are they distributed in the body in relation to their size, structure, and surface properties?
This research project is coordinated by a CENIDE member and involves a total of 19 universities and private research facilities, as well as industry and authority representatives.

Contact: PD Dr. Thomas Kuhlbusch (Coordinator)


By using defined test conditions and test systems the project "CarboLifeCycle" builds a foundation to understand if, under what conditions and to what extent Carbon Nanotubes (CNT) are released from their composite matrix into atmosphere, soil and water. For this, existing measurement strategies will be refined to gain knowledge about the extent and way of the exposure. In addition, scientists examine interactions between carbon nanotubes and biotic and abiotic compartments of the environment. This involves the transport and interactions in soil and water and the resulting exposure of and its effects on organisms. Such effects can occur both acutely at the cellular level as well as as long term effects on whole organisms and their populations. Using radioactively labeled CNT, which are integrated into composites, release and transport processes of CNT will be quantified for the first time and environmentally relevant concentrations are determined.

Contact: PD Dr. Thomas Kuhlbusch (Project Head)