Prof. Dr. Hans-Jürgen Butt

Main research interests

Hans-Jürgen Butt studies the structure and dynamics of interfaces. The aim is to better understand the relationship between structural changes, dynamics, and the driving forces. Major topics are interfacial forces and wetting, in particular wetting of superamphiphobic surfaces. His group investigates liquids that are internally structured at different length scales, such as polymer melts, solutions, dispersions, or emulsions. The methods used include scanning probe techniques, confocal microscopy, focused ion beam, microrheology, light and X-ray scattering. To expand the range of length and time scales accessible, new methods are continuously developed. Our goal is to solve fundamental questions, with the perspective of future applications.

  • Wetting
  • Slide electrification
  • Surface forces
  • Scanning probe microscopies
  • X-ray analysis of interfaces
  • Polymer and water in confined space
  • Colloids and granular matter
  • Photoresponsive materials

Short CV

Hans-Jürgen Butt was born 1961 in Hamburg. From 1980 to 1986 he studied physics in Hamburg and Göttingen. After his master thesis in high energy physics he moved to Frankfurt to work on his Ph.D. thesis in Ernst Bamberg's group at Max Planck Institute for Biophysics. He defended his thesis about light induced proton transport of bacteriorhodopsin in April 1989. 

Then he spent a year as a postdoc in Santa Barbara, California, with Paul Hansma. In 1990, back in Germany at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysics, he studied biological objects and surface forces with the atomic force microscope. He habilitated in 1995 in biophysical chemistry. 

In 1996 he went to the institute for physical chemistry at the Johannes Gutenberg-University in Mainz as a Associate Professor. In 2000 he joined the University of Siegen as a Full Professor for physical chemistry. 

2002 he received a call from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research. Since then he leads the group for Experimental Physics of Interfaces as a director. The group does fundamental research on the structure and dynamics of soft matter interfaces. The aim is to describe processes at interfaces quantitatively.

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