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Director of the Institute

Prof. Dr. Christof Wöll

Prof. Dr. Christof Wöll

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Institute of Functional Interfaces (IFG) at a glance



The objective of the research at the Institute of Functional Interfaces is the study of molecular interactions on surfaces of solid matter which are in contact with natural and technical systems.

Our approach in this field of research is based on investigating basic principles behind processes on a nano scale and consistently applying the findings to macro-level technical systems.


Based on this approach our Motto is "Molecular interactions at interfaces - From nano to macro"


The key aspects of research can be found here.









MOFs (SURMOFs) as light switched proton conductors for chemical sensors and fuel cells

Small-scale frameworks made of metallic nodes and organic connecting elements are true all-rounders: By combining different materials and varying the pore size and shape, the MOFs (Metal-Organic Frameworks) can be tailored to different applications.

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Posterpreis Rogall Webseite IFG
Poster Prize

At the symposium "Umweltrisiken in der Wasserforschung- Inter- und transdisziplinäre Bewertung und Perspektiven" des Wassernetzwerks Baden-Württemberg 2018 in Karlsruhe, the poster "Metformin im Abwasser beeinflusst die Vitalität von Bachforellen über Veränderungen im Fisch-Mikrobiom" presented by Dipl. Biol. Eike Thorben Rogall from the workgroup of Prof. Dr. Schwartz get rewarded with a poster prize.


Ceria Nanoparticles: It Is the Surface that Matters

New findings on the structure of catalysts and photocatalysts enable targeted further development of catalysts and photocatalysts - Three publications in the journal Angewandte Chemie


News_homepage_Connie_ERC Grant_September 2017
Dr. Cornelia Lee-Thedieck Receives ERC Starting Grant

For her research on the development of hematological and musculoskeletal disorders, Dr. Cornelia Lee-Thedieck, scientist at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), is awarded an ERC Starting Grant: The European Research Council decided to fund her project “bloodANDbone” with EUR 1.5 million for five years.


news_homepage_MOF_Gerueste_fungieren _als_Webstuehle
Metal-organic Frameworks Used as Looms

Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have made major progress in the production of two-dimensional polymer-based materials. To produce cloths from monomolecular threads, the scientists used SURMOFs, i.e. surface-mounted metal-organic frameworks, developed by KIT.


Bild Gerdes Himmel Malsch Rastatter Tageblatt
Town of Malsch turns into a living laboratory

In the summer of 2016 a new project of the Institute of Functional Interfaces (IFG) of KIT and the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers piqued the interest of Elmar Himmel, the mayor of the town of Malsch. The project "Prevention in construction" aims at prolonging the service life of infrastructure as bridges, streets, and buildings.

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News_2016_Woell_Licht_oeffnet_und schliesst_Fenster_in_Membranen
Light Opens and Closes Windows in Membranes

Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and Universität Hannover developed novel membranes, whose selectivity can be switched dynamically with the help of light. For this purpose, azobenzene molecules were integrated into membranes made of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Depending on the irradiation wavelength, these azobenzene units in the MOFs adopt a stretched or angular form. In this way, it is possible to dynamically adjust the permeability of the membrane and the separation factor of gases or liquids. The results are reported in Nature Communications. (DOI:10.1038/ncomms13872)


Biodegradable Polymer Coating for Implants

Medical implants often carry surface substrates that release active substances or to which biomolecules or cells can adhere better. However, degradable gas-phase coatings for degradable implants, such as surgical suture materials or scaffolds for tissue culturing, have been lacking so far. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (under the aegis of Prof. Dr. Lahann) now present a polymer coating that is degraded in the body together with its carrier.



Posterpreis Kratzer 2016
Poster Prize

At the Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Biomaterialien 2016 in Aachen, the Poster entiteled "Nanostructured multifunctional polymer films as hematopoietic stem cell culture substrates" presented by Domenic Kratzer from the workgroup of Dr. Cornelia Lee-Thedieck got rewarded with a poster prize.



Two Become One: How to Turn Green Light Blue

Metal-Organic Frameworks with a Piggyback Structure Open up New Possibilities for Solar Cells and LEDs. Researchers at KIT now showed for the first time that the inner interfaces between surface-mounted metal-organic frameworks (SURMOFs) are suited perfectly for this purpose.



Durable prostheses and implants

A crystalline layer of hydroxyapatite can form a pressure- and tension-resistant bond to bones or teeth. Scientists from the Institute of Functional Interfaces (IFG) at the KIT have succeeded in growing layers of hydroxyapatite on silicon surfaces.


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High awards for chemists of the IFG

Dr. Lars Heinke was awarded the Lecturer Prize of the "Fond der Chemischen Industrie" at the beginning of May. Heinke is investigating thin films of metal-organic framework (MOF) compounds, focusing on remote-controlled MOF materials, which are realized by using light-switchable molecules as building units for the MOF materials.


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High awards for chemist of the IFG

At the beginning of May, Prof. Dr. Christof Wöll was awarded the van't Hoff Prize of the German Bunsen Society for Physical Chemistry. The award recognizes his important contributions to the understanding of organic thin films, to the chemistry of oxidic interfaces and in particular to the
characterization of surface-supported metal-organic networks (SURMOFs).


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Infrastructure – Prevention Is Better than Cure

Helmholtz Association and KIT Start the Innovation Hub “Prevention in Construction” / Industry, Administration, and Science Want to Extend Lifecycles of Roads and Buildings.


Do multi-resistant germs spread through waste water?

The team of Prof. Thomas Schwartz investigates the pathways of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes into the aquatic environment and evaluates technical methods to interrupt the spread of these bacteria. The feedback back to humans through contact with water, waste water or in hospitals will also be investigated (microbial dissemination).


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Proteins in the wash cycle

How Prof. Matthias Franzreb and ANDRITZ KMPT GmbH intend to change the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries with swirling magnetic particles.

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Reducing costs in semiconductor manufacturing

Mineral layer enables high doping densities of semiconductors and simplifies the production process.

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Arrived in the community:

Spektrum der Wissenschaft publishes articles on porphyrin-based highly ordered surface-anchored metal-organic frameworks (SURMOFs) used as solar cells.


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Startseite_news_Detektor fuer Phosphor
Detector for phosphorus

KIT scientists are developing an automated detection system for phosphorus that uses no chemicals.


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Biology and Technology Episode 6: Reactors from the 3-D printer

In episode 6 of the KIT video series " Biology and Technology ", Prof. Matthias Franzreb tells Carsten how reactors can be produced with the help of a 3-D printer and what these reactors are capable of.






Jonas Wohlgemuth Jurypreis BW-Forschungtag 2015
First 3-D printing competition at the Baden-Württemberg Research Day Foundation

The Jury Prize at the 3D printing competition goes to Siegfried Hohmann and Jonas Wohlgemuth.




First Solar Cell Made of Highly Ordered Molecular Frameworks

New Material Based on Metal-organic Frameworks (MOFs) Is Suited for Photovoltaics/Publication in the Journal Angewandte Chemie International Edition


Pseudoparticles Travel through Photoactive Material

KIT Scientists Measure Important Process in the Conversion of Light Energy.


Departure to the unknown

How Christof Wöll and Hartmut Gliemann are pioneering a new molecular platform technology.

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Dr. Schwartz
Appointment as honorary professor

The Rector of the Mannheim University of Applied Sciences appoints Dr. rer. nat. Thomas Schwartz as honorary professor.

Poster Prize

At the 31. DECHEMA-Jahrestagung der Biotechnologen 2014 in Aachen the poster " Examination of protein binding on 3 D print material- basics for the rational design of printable enzyme reactors" by Franziska Kazenwadel got rewarded with a poster prize.

Posterpreis Bruchmann
Poster Prize

At the VAAM-Jahrestagung in Dresden the poster entiteled " Novel microfluidic biosensor for online monitoring of biofilm formation " presented by M. Sc. Julia Bruchmann got rewarded with a poster prize.



SURMOF based „Designer Solids“ as Photonic Nanomaterials for Optical and LHs Applications.

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Freie Poren für  Molekültransport
Free Pores for Molecule Transport

Researchers Identify Cause of Surface Barriers of Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) – Relevant to Gas Storage.


Safe Water for the People in Tanzania

Mobile Solar Filter System Removes Microorganisms and Pollutants.


Kuenstliches Knochenmark
KIT Researchers Develop Artificial Bone Marrow

Specific Reproduction of Hematopoietic Stem Cells outside of the Body Might Facilitate Therapy of Leukemia in a Few Years.


Polymer Coatings Based on Molecular Structures

KIT Researchers Developing a Novel Gel for Biological and Medical Applications


Dr. Lee-Thediecks Project „BioNanoHSZ“

Dr. Cornelia Lee-Thedieck Project BioNanoHSC is successful in the Young Investigator Competition NanoMatFutur of the German Federal Ministery of Education and Research (BMBF).

Printable Biotechnology

Under the ”Molecular Interaction Engineering“ (MIE) Helmholtz Research Network, KIT Is Granted about EUR 3.5 Million for Five Years by the BMBF.


Leopoldina Woell

Prof. Dr. Christof Wöll is a new member of the Leopoldina

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Large Pores

KIT Researchers Develop New Method to Produce Metal-organic Frameworks


News FAZ
Porous store for biomolecules

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) provide plenty of space for proteins and chiral compounds.

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Processes at the Surface of Catalysts

Using Infrared Spectroscopy, Scientists Detect that Oxygen Defects Act as Active Centers



Rack Systems
Flexible Rack Systems Sort Molecules

Researchers Develop New Process with Porous Molecular Organic Frameworks (MOFs)


Progress of Phosphorus Recycling

Path-breaking Project in Bavaria: Technical and Scientific Coordination by KIT.


Towards a More Efficient Use of Solar Energy

Fundamental Findings about the Processes in Photoelectrochemical Cells.