Functional interfaces between solid state bodies and molecules play a central role in the development of materials for use in, for example, optical sensor technology and the conversion of light to storable forms of energy. This department has targeted not only the design of such interfaces but their detailed material scientific and spectroscopic characterization as well.
The main focus of research is on semiconductor and metal oxide structures and thin-film layers, the large surface-to-volume ratio of which predestines these structures for the adsorption of analyte molecules and thus sensor applications from the area of medical and environmental analytics. The functionalization of semiconductor nanostructures with molecular sensitizers for the absorption of visible light leads to molecular semiconductor interfaces that can be integrated into the new generation of solar cells as an active unit. The photodriven processes that ultimately determine the functions of the interfaces are characterized in this research department. This leads to a basic understanding of the functional characteristics of the processes at the molecular level that is then again used as the feedback for the development of the functional interfaces. In addition to semiconductor-molecule interfaces, this research department also focuses spectroscopically on intramolecular interactions that determine the function of individual small molecules (e.g., as optical DNA sensors).
This research department makes fundamental assertions on the production and characterization of complex semiconductor nanostructures, layers, and their molecular functionalization, as well as, in particular, a detailed understanding of the photophysics of molecules and materials that play a central role in IPHT’s research profile. Efforts are being made, for example, to obtain a basic understanding of the photophysics of molecules and materials for technological applications in (bio)photonics and further optimize them based on their functionality.
The scientific spectrum of this research department also comprises, in addition to the production, characterization, and integration of semiconductor, metal, and oxide material nanostructures, a series of optically-spectroscopic methods of investigating photodriven processes in semiconductor nanostructures, molecules, and molecularly functionalized solid state surfaces. This research department will rise more and more to the challenge of taking the step toward component integration and the fundamental research required for this step. This will be carried out in cooperation with other research departments at the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology, as well as other research institutes and industrial partners.