Success in funding of innovative research

Collaborative Research Centre 951 (CRC 951) receives funding by the DFG for another four years.

The Collaborative Research Centre 951 "HIOS - Hybrid Inorganic / Organic Systems for Opto-Electronics" (HIOS) will receive funding for another four years. This was decided by the German Research Foundation (DFG) at this years’ spring meeting in Bonn. Since its establishment in 2011, the CRC’s scientific focus has been on novel hybrid materials consisting of inorganic semiconductors, conjugated organic molecules and metal nanostructures. The interaction of these very different components gives rise to new chemical and physical properties that are yet to be understood, mastered, and finally exploited to realize ever more complex opto-electronic functions in smallest possible volumes. These could be used, for example, in high-frequency and multi-colored light sources and sensors, as well as electronic and optical multifunctional devices of future generations of information technology.

Whether it comes to computers, solar cells or light sources, the requirements for the performance of these key technologies are growing at an immense pace. Providing faster access to larger amounts of data - such as in the opto-electronic transfer of information - represents an immense challenge. However, conventional technologies are already reaching their natural limits.

The scientists of the CRC 951 HIOS are therefore looking for radically new approaches to tackle this challenge: "A most promising approach lies in the amalgamation of soft organic molecules with hard inorganic semiconductors and metal nanostructures to so-called hybrid systems," explains HU-physicist and HIOS spokesperson Prof. Dr. Norbert Koch, who is also a member of the IRIS Adlershof and research group leader at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie.

"We explore the hitherto unknown processes of amalgamating these individual materials to exploit their strengths on the one hand and to compensate for their weaknesses on the other hand," says Koch. "In the past years, the CRC has provided comprehensive understanding of the chemical, electronic, photonic, and plasmonic interactions arising from the different nature of the components combined in HIOS.We have uncovered novel hybridized quantum states and coupled excitations at inorganic/organic interfaces. In the upcoming funding period, we will be able to realise hybrid inorganic/organic systems that are truly on the single-digit nanometer-scale, and thus we can unleash the full potential of metal nanostructures for plasmonic enhancement of light absorption and emission by several orders of magnitude. We are indeed facing very exciting times for HIOS research!"

The extensive know-how already gathered within the CRC 951 enables us to realize advanced HIOS that will pave the way for unequalled nanoscale solid-state devices, not achievable with any of the individual material classes alone. Now within reach, these ultra-compact devices will feature superior functionality, such as high modulation frequency light emission and sensing, widely tuneable quantum emission, chirality sensing, electronic and optical multi-functionality, and even synapse and neuron emulation.

HIOS brings together scientists from a wide variety of disciplines who are working in 20 concerted projects on these innovations. Besides Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Department of Physics, Department of Chemistry, and IRIS Adlershof) as coordinating university, Technische Universität Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin, Universität Potsdam, the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie, and the Fritz-Haber-Institut der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft are partners in this challenging but rewarding endeavor.


Prof. Dr. Norbert Koch
Institut für Physik & IRIS Adlershof
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Tel.: 030 2093-7819