The Freiburg Materials Research Centre (FMF), which is part of the University of Freiburg, recently celebrated its 20th anniversary in the Freiburg Concert Hall. As a central institution of the University of Freiburg, the FMF has been focusing on interdisciplinary basic research and contract research in the field of new materials and materials-related technologies since 1990. The faculties of mathematics and physics, chemistry, pharmacy and geosciences, biology, medicine, and technology have been part of the FMF’s success ever since it was first established.
Following the official opening of the celebrations by the rector of the University of Freiburg, Prof. Dr. Hans-Jochen Schiewer, and a welcome address by the city’s lord mayor, the FMF’s director Prof. Dr. Rolf Mülhaupt and representatives of the University of Freiburg and research institutions associated with the FMF gave an overview of the current state of materials research.
“The FMF is a unique selling point as well as a jewel in the crown of the University of Freiburg,” said Prof. Schiewer, going on to add “dense interdisciplinary cooperation under one roof as well as the excellent environment at the University, the Fraunhofer Institutes and EUVOR Universities, enable materials research to be oriented in a very particular way”.
Materials research at the FMF is characterised by a broad range of research activities. At present, major research focus is directed at bioinspired materials and technologies, functional shaping and nanostructure technology, energy, integrated materials, microsystems technology as well as the analysis and modelling of complex functional systems. In March 2010, the FMF attracted attention with the news that FMF researchers had succeeded in X-raying mummies using terahertz radiation. A research team from Freiburg led by Dr. Markus Walther and Dr. Andreas Bitzer used a specifically developed method to look into the mummified tissue of ancient Egyptian human and animal mummies. Initial studies made it possible to clearly visualise the bone structure in terahertz images. Moreover, burial objects such as amulets and weapons could be clearly discerned in bandaged, i.e. packaged, mummies.
In addition to this success, the FMF has also successfully developed X-ray detectors based on the characterisation of materials. Researchers in the department of Dr. Michael Fiederle use a broad range of different methods to analyse semiconductors in terms of their ability to absorb X-rays and replace X-ray films in the field of medicine. This enables the researchers to improve the quality of the images and reduce the dose of radiation. Another research project focuses on representing complex objects using “rapid prototyping” techniques, in which computers break down a three-dimensional object into individual layers and then re-assemble them. The 3D bioplotting method developed at the FMF is especially suited for use in medical research where cartilage, bones or skin material are reconstructed for use in regenerative medicine.
Since its establishment in 1990, the FMF’s research activities have greatly expanded at the same time as the culture based on the ideas of the founders and their creative spirit has been maintained. The FMF’s goal is to bring together research potential and resources, to offer practice-oriented qualifications to students as well as to engage in cooperative work with other research institutions and industry. FMF scientists have been developing new concepts for around 20 years and are involved in the creation of materials and technologies that are geared to future use. The FMF has made a name for itself as a core materials research centre at Freiburg University and is a beacon in German and international materials research. The FMF will further expand this key role in the future.
Further information about FMF:
Stefanie KuhlVice Managing Director (Administration and Technology)Freiburg Materials Research Centre at the University of FreiburgTel.: +49 (0)761/203-4710Fax: +49 (0)761/203-4709E-mail: stefanie.kuhl(at)fmf.uni-freiburg.de