Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research

Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research

Whether microchips and sensors in clothing or solar cells on a tent roof – polymer electronics makes such technical applications possible. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz are searching for suitable conducting polymers for these applications. This is, however, not all they do: they investigate polymers in all their different facets – their production, their physical properties and their applications. This is because polymers are becoming increasingly important as materials – not only for flexible, low cost electronics, but also, for example, as minute capsules that can contain drugs that can then be transported specifically to the area affected by the disease. Moreover, the researchers in Mainz are developing new procedures to spectrographically investigate polymers and to simulate their behaviour on the computer. They also work with soft matter, which, like wine gums, combines the properties of solid bodies and liquids. 


Ackermannweg 10
55128 Mainz
Phone: +49 6131 379-0
Fax: +49 6131 379-100

PhD opportunities

This institute has an International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS):
Max Planck Graduate School (MPGS) at MPI for Chemistry

In addition, there is the possibility of individual doctoral research. Please contact the directors or research group leaders at the Institute.

Drops in motion
When liquids are moved on a surface, similar frictional forces arise as those acting on solid bodies more
Plastics: not simply garbage
Plastics are accumulating in increasingly large quantities in the oceans but are difficult to replace due to the advantages they offer more
The effect of bacterial ice nuclei
Bacteria induce the formation of ice crystals by changing the order and dynamics of surface water molecules more
Charge transport jamming in solar cells
New insights into working mechanism indicate how novel perovskite solar cells can be further optimised more
Flowing water energises minerals
The electric charge of mineral surfaces changes in flowing water – a finding that is also important for understanding geological processes more

Plastics are practical – not least because they last. But when they find their way into the environment, this is precisely what becomes a problem. The amount of plastic waste in the environment is constantly increasing. A team headed by Frederik Wurm at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz is therefore developing polymers that can be broken down by microorganisms once they have served their purpose. The researchers are applying what they’ve learned from their work on biodegradable polymers for medical use.

Developing drugs that eliminate cancer cells effectively and have few or no side effects – this is one important aim of the Research Group led by Tanja Weil, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz. Weil and her team of chemists convert proteins into traceable drug transporters for nanomedicine with the help of miniscule diamonds.

Calculating with Carbon

1/2014 Material & Technology
Monitors and smartphones that can be rolled and folded up, solar cells in clothing and cheap chips in packaging that store details about products – these are just some of the applications that could become possible in the future thanks to molecular electronics. At the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, Paul Blom and Dago de Leeuw are optimizing the organic substances for this type of technology, paving the way for affordable, flexible and printable electronic components.

Chips from a Sheet

1/2014 Material & Technology
Material scientists are pinning their hopes for the electronics of the future on graphene more than almost any other substance. The teams working with Klaus Müllen, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, and Jurgen Smet, group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart, are striving to make these hopes a reality.
The research being undertaken by Doris Vollmer and Hans-Jürgen Butt could not only put an end to the annoying
smears on window panes, it could also make it possible to produce self-cleaning solar panels or more effective heart-lung machines. The scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz are developing surfaces that are extremely water and blood repellent.
Operation successful – patient dead. In German hospitals alone, 30,000 patients die every year from antibiotic-resistant infections that attack injuries and wounds or develop on implants. Researchers working with Renate Förch at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz aim to outwit these bacteria with the help of specially coated dressings.
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Polymer Synthesis

2017 Müllen, Klaus
Chemistry Material Sciences
By means of two examples, graphene nanoribbons and dimensionally stable dendrimers, I describe complex polymer syntheses and their great benefits for electronics on the one hand and gene therapy on the other. The first message I want to convey is that for ambitious goals in materials research, synthesis cannot only be "simple and practical," and the second message is that innovation needs the right people and partners. more

Photocatalytic water splitting

2017 Backus, Ellen
Chemistry Material Sciences Solid State Research

The sun is a well-known source of energy that has been heavily used in recent years. After long-term research and optimization, solar cells which convert solar energy into electrical energy, make it possible for many households and municipalities to use energy in an environmentally friendly manner by installing them on roofs and fields. However, this generation of energy is dependent on weather and daylight. The energy requirement, on the other hand, is usually not proportional to energy production. For this reason, the development of energy storage is becoming a major factor.


The future of polymer electronics

2016 Blom, Paul W.M.
Cell Biology Chemistry Material Sciences Solid State Research Structural Biology

Conjugated polymers can be processed from solution; this attractive feature opens up the realization of roll-to-roll based production processes. Yet commercial success has been hindered. The MPI-P recently demonstrated that the intrinsic properties of conjugated polymers have been masked by defects and therefore have not been fully exploited so far. Our aim is to uncover and characterize these intrinsic properties and improve them further. Using polymer blends, novel properties and nanostructures are realized by controlling the phase separation between various functional polymers.


Corrosion: a challenge for materials science

2016 Crespy, Daniel; Landfester, Katharina
Cell Biology Chemistry Material Sciences Solid State Research Structural Biology

The economic losses due to corrosion in industrialized countries can represent up to 6% of gross national product. This explains the emphasis placed on the research dealing with corrosion protection. As part of a collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Iron Research in Düsseldorf, we have produced new coatings for an adequate corrosion protection. We studied corrosion attacks and clarified the fundamental aspects of self-healing and anti-corrosion mechanisms.


MolProComp: molecular process computation

2015 Kremer, Kurt
Chemistry Complex Systems Material Sciences

Macromolecular structures and functionality, ranging from biology to photovoltaics, are the result of non-equilibrium processes. Though crucially important, a basic understanding of the underlying processes on a molecular level is missing. Thanks to recent developments it is now possible to observe such processes over numerous time and length scales. MolProComp takes up these advances and will develop computer simulations methods aiming at the understanding, control and manipulation of such processes.

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