Research Topics of IWE1
Since 2018, the Institute of Materials in Electrical Engineering 1 is led by Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Sven Ingebrandt, who started expanding the research interests and applications. Currently, the institute comprises four research groups, led by Prof. Sven Ingebrandt, Prof. Uwe Schnakenberg, Dr. Vivek Pachauri, and Dr. Xuan-Thang Vu. The research topics dealt with by the groups are either group-specific or overarching, depending on the concrete focus. In general, the work of the institute has a strong interdisciplinary character, including areas of natural and engineering sciences. Steadily growing, the institute currently consists of about 50 postdocs, doctoral researchers, students, and infrastructure employees from more than 15 countries.
IWE1’s research agenda has a strong focus on the development of micro- and nanosystems for biomedicine, life sciences, environmental sensing, and industry 4.0 applications. There is a prominent aspect of developing and using silicon, 2D materials, heterostructures, composite materials, and conductive polymers as thin-films and as nanoscale transducers for electronic as well as optoelectronic active elements in micro- and nanosystems. In addition, our researchers conduct fundamental science aspects with particular emphasis to material combinations in novel sensors. In this context, our main activities lie in the coupling of biological systems (e.g. living cells, cellular compartments like membranes, proteins, antibodies, and DNA) to technical systems for the development of "intelligent" implants, prostheses, and microfluidic systems for biotechnology and biomedical diagnostics. For these applications, inductive and telemetric readout principles are used.
The institute's research is conducted while establishing collaborations with many national and international partners. One of the strongest international connections is with the Tokyo Institute of Technology as Prof. Sven Ingebrandt acts as RWTH's representative for this collaboration destination.
The development of micro- and nanosystems, thin-film technologies, micromechanics, micro electroplating, nanoimprint lithography as well as advanced packaging technologies are infrastructurally centered on 1,600 m2 of clean room technology in RWTH’s Central Laboratory for Micro-Nanotechnology. This infrastructure is complemented with interdisciplinary technology laboratories of about 400 m2 including electronic and biosensor laboratories and an S1 cell culture laboratory for electrophysiology and cell-sensor coupling experiments.