Polymers for energy and technology
In the 21st century, modern technologies pose new challenges for research and development, not least with regard to efficiency, sustainability and climate neutrality. This requires existing technologies to be rethought or new scientific effects to be made operational for the market.
Our institute takes up these challenges in order to research the fundamentals for various future technologies. The departments around Paul Blom, Hans-Jürgen Butt and Kurt Kremer are working on the theoretical as well as experimental investigation of novel solar cells made of the special perovskite crystal structure and also of organic materials. These promise to be a cheaper and more efficient alternative to conventional silicon solar cells and could thus be an important factor in the switch to renewable energies.
A completely different method for generating tiny amounts of energy could result from the newly approved ERC project "DynaMo" around Hans-Jürgen Butt. Here, they are investigating how droplets gliding over surfaces leave a trail of charges behind - an effect that was previously quite unknown and only partially understood. This could, for example, make it possible to operate small, power-saving sensors in remote regions where no other energy source is available.
However, generated energy must also be stored efficiently. Mischa Bonn's depeartment is investigating the processes in a fuel cell in more detail. The splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen is not yet fully understood in detail. An understanding of the molecular processes could help in the future, for example, in the design of new electrode surfaces.
Last but not least, the energy generated or stored must also be used in a resource-saving manner as part of a sustainable future. Paul Blom's and Kurt Kremer's departments, for example, are conducting research into new, more efficient, durable and easier to process materials for organic light-emitting diodes.
These are only a few selected examples that are being researched in the field of "Energy and Technology" at our institute. You can find more in our newsroom or in current scientific publications.