Center for Applied Nanotechnology CAN

Inorganic nanoparticles and nanocomposites

At the Fraunhofer Center for Applied Nanotechnology CAN in Hamburg, inorganic nanoparticle systems are being developed. We transfer research results into solution strategies for new or improved products, especially in the fields of functional materials (displays, LED and lighting, solar and fuel cells), life science (diagnostic tools, biomarkers) and home and personal care (additives for cosmetic products, detergents and specialty polymers as formulation aids).

Our main expertise lies in the production and characterization of materials in the form of inorganic nanoparticles and nanocomposites. Established particle systems include fluorescent, magnetic, electrically and thermally conductive, radiopaque, electrocatalytically active, metallic and ceramic nanoparticles.

About the research division CAN

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. The nanoparticles of the CAN GmbH were sold internationally until December 31, 2017 under the brand name CANdot®. Since January 1, 2018, the Fraunhofer CAN is a research division of the Fraunhofer IAP.

Our services

The Fraunhofer CAN offers contract research and development services in the field of chemical nanotechnology and nanoanalytics.

  • development of new cosmetic raw materials based on polymers or nanoparticles
  • innovative raw materials for use in household and industrial products
  • modification and application of raw materials based on polymer or nano/microparticles in formulations
  • development, refinement and characterization for formulations of innovative products for cosmetics, household and industry
  • expertise in the field of additives for pigment stabilization
  • selection, development and realization of tailor-made analytical methods for individual raw material or product
  • individual solutions based on market trends and the latest scientific developments


  • microscopic and spectroscopic methods
  • scattering methods
  • techniques for the study of nano-structured surfaces, energy and gas transport through materials and rheological properties
  • analysis of composition and size of materials
  • toxicity tests
    - confocal microscope [FCS / FLIM / FCCS]
  • relaxivity
    - stability measurements

Biomarker labeling

  • development of customized biomarkers
  • fluorescent semiconductor nanoparticles
  • magnetic nanoparticle probes  


  • synthesis, modification and analysis of nanoparticles

Our research topics


  • quantum dots
  • gold nanoparticles
  • rare earth doped nanoparticles
  • magnetic nanoparticles
  • nanoparticles with antimicrobial properties
  • rheology enhancer  

Material sciences

  • fuel cells
  • catalysis
  • security label
  • solar cells  

Life sciences

  • detection of proteins in the Western Blotting
  • dental materials
  • diagnostics
  • contrast agent
  • magnetic contrast agent
  • X-ray contrast agent
  • marker materials
  • fluorescent nanoparticles
  • multifunctional gold nanoparticles

Innovative ingredients for cosmetics and household products

  • development of new cosmetic raw materials based on polymers or particles in the nano- and micro size range
  • rheology modifiers (for aqueous, alcoholic or oil-based systems)
  • anionic, cationic and amphoteric polymers
  • multifunctional polymers
  • antibacterial polymers/nanoparticles
  • customized surface properties for nano/micro particle systems


Fraunhofer Center for
Applied Nanotechnology CAN 


Grindelallee 117
20146 Hamburg

Phone +49 40 42838-4983

Jan Niehaus

Contact Press / Media

Dr. Jan Niehaus

Head of department | Quantum Materials

Fraunhofer IAP
Grindelallee 117
20146  Hamburg

Phone +49 40 2489639-26

Neus Feliu Torres

Contact Press / Media

Dr. Neus Feliu Torres

Head of department (acting) Nanomedical Applications | Head of working group Nanoparticle based Theranostics

Fraunhofer IAP
Grindelallee 117
20146  Hamburg

Vesna Aleksandrovic-Bondzic

Contact Press / Media

Dr. Vesna Aleksandrovic-Bondzic

Head of working group | Sustainable Polymers / Home & Personal Care

Grindelallee 117
20146  Hamburg

Phone +49 40 2489639-12

Christoph Gimmler

Contact Press / Media

Dr. Christoph Gimmler

Division director (acting) | Head of working group Nanoscale Energy and Structure Materials

Fraunhofer IAP
Grindelallee 117
20146  Hamburg

Phone +49 40 2489639-20