Karlsruhe Institute of Technology: Cluster of Excellence Center for Functional Nanostructures
The CFN (Center for Functional Nanostructures), located at the Universität Karlsruhe (TH) and the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe GmbH (Research Center Karlsruhe), is an interdisciplinary research center dedicated to fundamental and applied research in some of the most fascinating fields in nanotechnology.
Established on July 1 2001, the CFN is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation), the State of Baden-Württemberg and the Universität Karlsruhe (TH). 37 groups from the Universität Karlsruhe (TH), 19 groups from the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, and an additional 4 junior research groups are associated with the CFN, leading to a total of more than 200 scientists engaged in more than 60 different research projects.
Structures with dimensions from below one micrometer down to the size of only a few or even single atoms are currently subject of intense research worldwide. These nanostructures (1 nanometer = 1 millionth of a millimeter) form the basis of nanotechnology, which is often referred to as "key technology of the 21st century". In fact, there are already a number of nanotechnological products on the market, such as highly disperse fluids, emulsions or powders. More ground-breaking developments in other fields, e.g. circuit architecture or software design in computer science, are to be expected from significant advances in nanotechnology.
Besides the mere reduction in size, which in itself already results in characteristics quite dissimilar from the bulk, nanostructures can exhibit a number of fundamentally different and novel properties compared to their macroscopic counterparts. It is the aim of nanotechnology to understand and exploit these properties. It thus comprises basic research in physics and chemistry as well as many areas of applications, such as materials science, chemical and electrical engineering.