Nanoscale energy and structure materials

Numerous key material properties can be precisely specified and influenced at the nanoscale - that is where we start!

Based on our expertise in the field of nanoparticle synthesis and chemistry, we adapt our particle systems to the respective application in the field of energy research and functional nanocomposites. Thereby we develop optimized, novel material systems.

Benefit with our competences and the network of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the largest organization for applied research in Europe!




Nanoparticel synthesis
and surface modification




Nanoparticles in electrolysis
and fuel cell



Processes of
nanoparticle production


Process development and scaling up


Medical applications


Rare earth doped nanoparticles
as marker systems




Nanoparticles in security printing
and as marking substance





Material development on the nanoscale





Whether metal-based nanoparticles for catalysis or upconverting fluorescent core-shell nanocrystal sensors in the life sciences: we offer you material and synthesis expertise on various nanoscale systems.

For example, our CANdot Series X up is available worldwide as one of our standards.



  • customized syntheses
  • development of synthesis routes
  • optimization of production processes
  • processing of nanoparticles: ink formulations, coatings, composites
  • nanoscale materials characterization
  • training, research and consulting
  • consortium leadership / project management



  • scientific know-how on colloids and nanoparticels
  • conception of nanoparticle systems
  • ink / paste development
  • engineering design of synthesis processes
  • profound knowledge of characterization methods
    on nanostructured material systems
  • project management
  • formulation of applications
    (national and EU third-party funded projects)



  • PGM systems:
    platinum, palladium, gold, iridium
  • nanoparticle systems as alloy and as core / shell system
  • iridium, ruthenium and their oxides
  • patented systems based on
    rare earths / lanthanides
  • upconversion nanoparticels (UCNP)
  • doped oxides with high conductivities


Catalysis takes place on surfaces. Catalyzed processes run faster and the necessary activation energy is lower than for non-catalyzed reactions.

Nanoparticles have a surface-to-volume ratio that is particularly beneficial for catalysis. If elements are cleverly chosen and used to produce nanoparticles, this offers significant advantages.

The research group of Nanoscale energy and structure materials focuses on applications in the field of hydrogen technologies, in particular in the field of fuel cells (PEMFC) and (water) electrolysis (PEMEly).



  • application of different PGM nanoparticles in fuel cell and electrolysis
  • preparation of different nanoparticle systems
  • support of nanoparticles on carbon and oxides
  • ink production



  • PGM systems: platinum, palladium,
    gold, iridium
  • nickel / platinum as alloy and as core / shell system
  • palladium / nickel as alloy
  • Cu / Pt as core / shell system
  • Ir and IrOx
  • Ru and RuO2



  • electrochemistry: rotating disk electrode
  • recording of current-voltage characteristics (CV)
  • determination of system-level characteristics using a fuel cell test bed
  • impedance measurements ( in progress)

Processes for the production of nanoparticles

Nanoparticles often show beneficial properties that lead to new product features or a significant improvement of existing applications. A requirement for commercial implementation is the availability of high-quality materials in larger quantities. This is where we support you!



  • development of synthesis processes
  • characterization of primary nanoparticle properties
  • upscaling of syntheses in flow and batch reactors (autoclaves)
  • RoHS compliant fluorescent
    nanoparticle systems
  • noble metal nanoparticles for catalysis
  • development and production of nanoscale oxides, phosphates, sulfates, vanadates
  • feasibility studies, consulting services

Flow reactor 

for production of metal nanoparticles


  • cost-efficiency increase due to
    continuous synthesis
  • automatable processes
  • rapid parameter variation during the
    ongoing synthesis process
  • high degree of reproducibility for transferring results from laboratory to pilot plant scale
  • upscaling
  • increased laboratory safety

and analytics


  • fluorescence lifetime measurements
  • X-ray diffraction (XRD)
  • electron microscopy (TEM and SEM),
    incl. elemental analysis by EDX
  • thermogravimetry (TGA)
  • dynamic light scattering (DLS)

Medical applications

Rare earth doped nanoparticles have unique optical properties with many advantages for application as sensor systems in the life sciences. Our expertise in nanoparticle design and surface modification allow us to develop specific systems that are precisely adapted to the application, environment and detection method.



  • preparation of rare earth doped nanoparticles with large (anti-) stokes shift
  • design of upconversion and down shifting nanoparticles
  • inclusion of magnetic properties
  • surface modification for transfer into aqueous systems
  • detailed characterization by electron microscopy, absorption and emission spectroscopy, determination of quantum efficiencies and release times, cell stress tests

of nanoparticle


  • nanoparticle systems are structured as core-shell materials
  • different properties can be integrated into different shells and the core
  • surface modification has been established for transfer into water / cell culture media: ligand exchange, polymer encapsulation, silica shells, functionalization

Dual mode sensors


  • combination of fluorescent and magnetic properties are possible within a particle system
  • no bleaching of fluorescence due to presence of metal ions (e. g. iron) in the particle system

Properties of rare earth doped


  • properties depend on the choice of host lattice and dopant elements
  • stimulation from the UV to the NIR range
  • fluorescence from UV to NIR range
  • X-ray fluorescence (scintillator)
  • X-ray opacity (filler for plastics)
  • high refractive index (light conduction, light refraction)


Product piracy is a serious threat to human life and sales. Here, as well as for track and trace applications, our customized nanoparticle systems can help document the movement of goods and act as a forensic security feature.



  • development of nanoparticle systems as colorless, transparent marking substances
  • customized embedding in matrices
  • patented ink systems
  • development of inks and pastes for printing processes

Label systems


  • stable up to > 1000 °C
  • photostable / no bleaching
  • different detection methods
  • as open, hidden and forensic feature


Rare earth doped nanoparticles have unique optical properties. They base on combinations of host lattices and dopant elements. The design of these materials as onion-like systems, core-shell(-shell) systems, provides many possibilities.



  • unique optical properties
  • high penetration depths into fabrics
  • emission of light in the visible or UV wavelength range
  • long fluorescence decay times
  • X-ray fluorescence
  • adjustable absorption and emission by specific choice of dopant elements



  • absorption of at least two low energetic photons (NIR range), energy transfer and subsequent emission of higher-energy photons (e. g.  visible wavelength range)