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 Center

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

The web of death

A new approach to cancer therapy: molecular networks drive tumor cells into self-destruction

Electrons in the fast lane

Microscopic structures could further improve perovskite solar cells

Helping damaged nerves to re-grow

Severed nerve tracts are very difficult to treat. If at all, the damage so far can only be repaired through complex operations. At the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, we have developed materials that stimulate damaged nerves into growth. Results from initial tests on mice show that nerve tracts can regenerate this way.

ERC Advanced Grants for six Max Planck researchers

Research Council ERC awards grants of up to 2.5 million euros each

Water splitting observed on the nanometer scale

New investigation method provides fundamental insights into electrocatalytic water splitting under operating conditions


Katharina Landfester, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, has opened the door to numerous applications. She has developed a technology whereby tiny containers can be specifically manufactured for almost any substance and equipped with various functions. Her team is now working on using nanocapsules as transporters for pharmaceuticals, as medical sensors, or as fungus treatments in wine production.

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 annoyingsmears 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.

PhD position (m/f/d) | Organic Thin-Film Transistors

Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, Mainz September 08, 2020

Fighting diseases using trojan horses

2018 Wurm, Frederik; Landfester, Katharina

Cell Biology Chemistry Material Sciences Solid State Research Structural Biology

The fungal disease Esca affects vines and leads to the dying of the plants. The infection may also happen years before the first external indications are observed, therefore an early treatment is nearly impossible. This causes a yearly damage of over one billion Euros worldwide. During our research we developed a treatment method based on nanotechnology that fights the fungus in the inside of the vine.


Small- and nano-scale soft phononics

2017 Fytas, George

Material Sciences Solid State Research

1993, twelve years after the discovery of photonics, was the birth of phononic materials for the controlled propagation of mechanical/acoustic waves. The first experimental realization followed in soon after at sonic and later at hypersonic frequencies using macromachinery and soft matter self-assembly. Two examples, artificial and natural hierarchical structures, will highlight the new emerging field of high frequency phononics aiming at tunable strong, deaf, cool and interactive materials.


Nanodiamond with lattice defects as emerging material for biomedicine

2017 Weil, Tanja

Cell Biology Chemistry Material Sciences

The synthesis of very small diamond particles, so-called nanodiamonds, with precisely localized lattice defects and controlled morphologies, remains of great challenge in synthetic chemistry and materials design. However, mastering these challenges represents an exciting and prospective endeavor. Functionalized nanodiamonds offer great potential as unique quantum sensors and they promise mastering the far-reaching goal of structure and dynamic analysis of single biomolecules in their cellular environments and serve as efficient transport and improved contrast agents for in vivo drug delivery.


Polymer Synthesis

2016 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.


Photocatalytic water splitting

2016 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.

Go to Editor View