Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Stuttgart site

Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Stuttgart site

The scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (formerly: Max Planck Institute for Metals Research) dedicate their efforts to the material sciences. Their interests include, among other things, how the functioning of materials determines the atomic, nanoscopic and microscopic scale of their macroscopic behaviour. To this end, one of their main fields of research is nanoscience – the scientists investigate magnetic material and fluids on the nanoscale, for example. A further focus of their research is the interface between nanotechnology and biology, such as the behaviour of cells on different surfaces. Many of the phenomena being investigated occur when a material is converted from one state into another or at the interface between two materials. Understanding what happens at such interfaces could help create materials which are more stable and invest them with targeted properties.


Heisenbergstr. 3
70569 Stuttgart
Phone: +49 711 689-0
Fax: +49 711 689-1010

PhD opportunities

This institute has an International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS):

IMPRS for Intelligent Systems

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

Department Theory of Inhomogeneous Condensed Matter


Department Modern Magnetic Systems


Department Physical Intelligence


Department Phase Transformations, Thermodynamics and Kinetics

Six Max Planck researchers land lucrative EU funding

ERC awards Advanced Grants worth up to 2.5 million euros each.

Millirobot with a talent for versatility of movement

A magnetic drive allows a tiny untethered vehicle to walk, crawl, jump and swim through a complex environment

Gecko-inspired multipurpose gripper

An elastic membrane covered with tiny fibres paired with a pressure differential enables a new soft gripper system with a high adhesion performance even on curved surfaces

Magic ink from the nano world

A chemical reaction alters the colours of plasmonic prints

A filter for heavy hydrogen

Deuterium and tritium can be separated from each other relatively easily using a functionalized metal-organic framework compound


Some medical treatments would be more efficient if medication could be transported via a tiny robot directly to the diseased area. Peer Fischer and his colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart are developing microswimmers and nanoswimmers that are expected to one day make this possible.

Gastroscopy usually requires patients to swallow an endoscope tube. Although camera-carrying capsules are also suitable for the task, it is still not possible to control them. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart plan to change all that. And their tiny capsule-shaped robots can do a lot more than merely take snapshots of the stomach’s interior.

Personal Portrait: Sylvie Roke

Researchers are testing new storage solutions for hydrogen cars.

Student assistant

Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Stuttgart site, Stuttgart November 14, 2018

Microrobots to the rescue! Miniature robots the size of around a single cell have the prospect of transforming medical therapy, as they are able to access enclosed spaces, making previously inaccessible body parts accessible, allowing for a minimally invasive diagnosis and treatment. However, it is difficult to construct a microrobot. Questions are: can the researchers create medical robots that decide themselves when to take action inside the body? How can they build such an autonomous, intelligent system at the sub-millimeter scale? A great challenge, that the scientists pursue with passion.


Biomechanics and Locomotion Control in Legged Animals and Legged Robots

2017 Spröwitz, Alexander (korrespondierender Autor); Heim, Steve

Material Sciences

An animal's running gait is dynamic, efficient, elegant, and adaptive. We see locomotion in animals as an orchestrated interplay of the locomotion apparatus, interacting with its environment. The Dynamic Locomotion Group at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart develops novel legged robots to decipher aspects of biomechanics and neuromuscular control of legged locomotion in animals, and to understand general principles of locomotion.


Interface-controlled phenomena in nanomaterials

2016 Mittemeijer, Eric J.; Wang, Zumin

Material Sciences

Nanosized material systems characteristically exhibit an excessively high internal interface density. A series of previously unknown phenomena in nanomaterials have been disclosed that are fundamentally caused by the presence of interfaces. Thus anomalously large and small lattice parameters in nanocrystalline metals, quantum stress oscillations in growing nanofilms, and extraordinary atomic mobility at ultralow temperatures have been observed and explained. The attained understanding for these new phenomena can lead to new, sophisticated applications of nanomaterials in advanced technologies.


The smallest human-made nano-motor

2015 Sánchez, Samuel

Chemistry Material Sciences

Tiny self-propelled motors which speed through the water and clean up pollutions along the way or small robots which can swim effortlessly through blood to one day transport medication to a certain part of the body – this sounds like taken from a science fiction movie script. However, Samuel Sánchez is already hard at work in his lab at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart to make these visions come true. Self-propelled micro-nanorobots and the usage as integrated sensors in microfluid-chips: that’s the topic of Sánchez` research group.


Living organisms have a very effective method for eliminating cells that are no longer needed: programmed death. Researchers in the group of Ana García Sáez work with a protein called Bax, a key regulator of apoptosis that creates pores with a flexible diameter inside the outer mitochondrial membrane. This step inevitably triggers the final death of the cell. These insights into the role of important key enzymes in setting off apoptosis could provide useful for developing drugs that can directly influence apoptosis.

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