The Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces was founded in 1992. Research in Colloid and Interface Science is widely covered by the following Departments: Biomaterials, Biomolecular Systems, Interfaces,Colloid Chemistry as well as Theory & Bio-Systems. Current research topics are polymeric films, membranes, microcapsules, organic and inorganic nanostructures, biomineralization, nano- and microreactors, molecular motors and filaments as well as chemistry and biology of carbohydrates.
Biomimetic research is at the core of the Institute’s activity. Common goal is to learn from nature how to build hierarchical materials or active systems with new functionalities, with adaptive, self-healing or self-assembling properties.
The Department of Biomaterials focuses on interdisciplinary research in the field of biological and biomimetic materials. The emphasis is on understanding how the mechanical or other physical properties are governed by structure and composition and how they adopt to environmental conditions.
Our research program is focused on elucidating the role of complex oligosaccharides involved in a host of biological processes of medical relevance by employing molecular tools created by synthetic chemistry.
The “Colloid Chemistry” department deals with the synthesis of various colloidal structures in the nanometre range. This includes inorganic and metallic nanoparticles, polymers and peptide structural units, their micelles and organised phases, as well as emulsions and foams.
The understanding of molecular interfaces and therefore also their significance for colloidal systems (emulsions, foams, composite materials) is the main subject of the department’s research. Due to the large proportion of interfaces in colloidal systems, understanding these is essential for controlling them.
The Department investigates the structure and dynamics of molecules, colloids and nanoparticles in biological and biomimetic systems. The molecular building blocks of these systems assemble "by themselves" and form a variety of supramolecular nanostructures, which then interact to produce even larger structures and networks.