The Center for Applied Nanotechnology CAN to become new research division at the Fraunhofer IAP

Press release /

The Center for Applied Nanotechnology (CAN) GmbH was integrated into the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research (Potsdam-Golm) on January 1, 2018. Under the leadership of Professor Horst Weller, a renowned chemist, the 23 employees will continue their research activities at CAN’s location in Hamburg. Focus is on the manufacturing and characterization of a range of materials in the form of nanoparticles and nanocomposites.

© Fraunhofer CAN, Foto: Edgar Wacker
Semi-conductive particles (quantum dots) under UV light stimulation: their fluorescence changes as they increase in size (from left to right).

Fluorescing, magnetic, catalytically active or electrically conductive – the particle systems developed by CAN are extremely versatile. In the future they will primarily be used in displays, solar and fuel cells, in diagnostics, or as special polymers for cosmetic applications. “CAN’s portfolio fits perfectly into the range of competencies offered by the Fraunhofer IAP, with the experts at both institutions building on shared expertise. This enables us to expand our activities in the business areas of optoelectronics and medical technology,” explains Professor Alexander Böker, head of the Fraunhofer IAP. The initial joint projects that will drive forward the integration include the development of security features for counterfeit protection, optical sensors for hyperspectral cameras, and rapid tests used in medical diagnostics.


“Joining the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft opens up completely new prospects for us, even in areas where we have not yet been active. And we will jointly develop new thematic fields with other Fraunhofer institutes beyond our collaboration with the Fraunhofer IAP,“ explains Professor Horst Weller, who holds a chair at the Institute of Physical Chemistry at the University of Hamburg in addition to his role as head of the CAN research division. In the scientific world, Weller has become famous for his research on the colloidal synthesis of nanoparticles and their characterization.


CAN GmbH was founded in 2005 as a public private partnership between the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, the University of Hamburg, and notable industrial enterprises, all of which had joined forces to form a support association. Members of the association included the companies Beiersdorf AG, Eppendorf AG, Merck KGaA, Bode Chemie GmbH and DESY, as well as the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce and Hamburg Savings Bank. Thanks to close ties with Hamburg’s universities and research institutes, today’s Fraunhofer Center for Applied Nanotechnology CAN is backed by a large regional network of internationally distinguished researchers working in the fields of nanoscience, nanotechnology and life science.