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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.











                                                   3 D Printing - Excellence Initiative




Verleihung der Ehrendoktorwürde Wöll 2019
On 25th October 2019 Prof. Wöll was awarded the honorary doctoral degree from the University of Southern Denmark.

In honor of his achievments in the development of organic thin films in general and his groundbreaking work on metal-organic frameworks Prof. Wöll was awarded the honorary doctorate from the University of Southern Denmark.



Bild News Schwartz 2019
Nature Scientific Reports: Publication on antibiotic resistance

The comprehensive reduction of clinically relevant antibiotic resistances from treated wastewater is the topic of the publication in NATURE Scientific Research, published by the Department of Microbiology/Molecular Biology under the direction of Prof. Thomas Schwartz. Oxidative and membrane based methods are compared in combination and subsequent microbiological risks are described.


Luftbild Kläranlage Ulm Thomas Schwartz
Hazardous waste water: What can be done against more and more harmful germs?

An article on this topic was published in the FAZ of 3.4.2019, which also refers to the investigations of Prof. Dr. Thomas Schwartz, Department of Microbiology/Molecular Biology at the IFG. As part of a BMBF project, various municipal sewage treatments plants are being investigated for the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and their distribution in the environment is being shown. By means of extended treatment processes it is possible to interrupt these distribution pathways. This is also demanded by the WHO and the UN Assembly.

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News November 2018 Homepage IFG
Organic photovoltaics: More energy through channeling

An ideal material for photon harvesting must allow control of the exciton diffusion length and directionality. This is necessary in order to guide excitons to a reaction center, where their energy can drive a desired process. To reach this goal both of the following are required; short- and long-range structural order in the material and a detailed understanding of the excitonic transport. Here we present a strategy to realize crystalline chromophore assemblies with bespoke architecture.




Auszeichnung Hartmut

Dr. Hartmut Gliemann received the award "Best Presentation" for his talk with the title "Reducing the influence of relative humidity on the sensitivity of ZnO-based gas sensors by coating with metal- organic

frameworks" which was given at the HybridSensorNet Symposium 2018, held from 14.11.-15.11.2018 in Karlsruhe http://hybridsensornet.org/ .

New Materials: Growing Polymer Pelts

Vapor Deposition of a Liquid Crystal Layer with Reactive Molecules Provides Customized Nanofibers for Different Applications – Publication in Science - Researchers at the Institute of Functional Interfaces (IFG) of KIT, as well as at the University of Michigan, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, have now developed a simple and therefore cost-effective process that allows polymer pelts to grow in a self-organized way.



Auf der Tagung “Spurenstoffe und Krankheitserreger im Wasserkreislauf” der Dechema Gesellschaft für Chemische Technik und Biotechnologie e.V. am 23. und 24. Oktober 2018 in Frankfurt a.M., wurde Herr Norman Hembach von der Abteilung Mikrobiologie / Molekularbiologie des Instituts für Funktionelle Grenzflächen für sein Poster „Combined advanced processes in wastewater treatment for reduction of antibiotic resistant bacteria“ mit dem zweiten Platz prämiert.


Open PhD and postdoc positions need to be occupied at the Institute of Functional Interfaces

In the context of the excellence strategy launched by the federal and state governments within the excellence cluster „3D Matter Made to Order” open PhD and postdoc positions need to be occupied at the Institute of Functional Interfaces. Please contact Prof. Christof Wöll. 


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Kajal Mallick Memorial Prize

Dr. Hartmut Gliemann and Peter Krolla (Institute of Functional Interfaces) received the Kajal Mallick Memorial Prize“ together with Prof. Christina Wege (University of Stuttgart) and her group in London. The prize was awarded by the “Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Publishing” to the paper with the title “RNA-stabilized protein nanorings: high-precision adapters for biohybrid design” (https://doi.org/10.1680/jbibn.16.00047) as best paper published in 2017 in the ICE Science journals of research in the field of “Bioinspired, Biomimetic and Nanobiomaterials. 


Eintrag von Antibiotika-resistenten Bakterien in öffentliche Gewässer - eine Gefahr?

Prof. Dr. Thomas Schwartz forscht am IFG über Antibiotika-resistente Bakterien und spricht im Interview über Hygiene und die Gefahr bei Kolonisierung.

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Facettenreiche Ceroxid-Nanopartikel

Anhand von Kohlenmonoxid als Sondenmolekül sowie Infrarot-Re­flexions-Absorptionsspektroskopie (IRRAS) konnten Irregularitäten auf Ceroxid-Nanostäben nachgewiesen werden, die wahrscheinlich deren hohe katalytische Aktivität erklären.


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.

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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


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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.


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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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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.