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Research publications

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Research publications 2018

Millirobot with a talent for versatility of movement

January 30, 2018

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

Research publications 2017

Gecko-inspired multipurpose gripper

May 26, 2017

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 [more]


Magic ink from the nano world

March 01, 2017

A chemical reaction alters the colours of plasmonic prints [more]


A filter for heavy hydrogen

February 28, 2017

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


New drive for tiny vessels

February 14, 2017

Miniaturized robots can be propelled through biological fluids by an enzymatic reaction or ultrasound [more]

Research publications 2016

The nanostructured cloak of invisibility

October 21, 2016

Scientists manipulate surfaces in such a manner that they hardly reflect any light and practically become invisible [more]


Motion-directed robots on a micro scale

September 30, 2016

Microswimmers capped with carbon on one side can be propelled and steered by light [more]


Shape-programmable miniscule robots

September 26, 2016

Soft materials that can use magnetic fields to generate desired time-varying shapes could provide an engine for microswimmers [more]


Holograms with sound

September 21, 2016

A new way of shaping sound waves in 3D aids technology and could be useful for medical ultrasound applications [more]


Switch and stick

May 18, 2016

The chemical element gallium could be used as a new reversible adhesive that allows its adhesive effect to be switched on and off with ease [more]


Microrobots learn from ciliates

February 25, 2016

A swimming microrobot formed from liquid-crystal elastomers is driven by a light-induced peristaltic motion [more]

Wenige Nanometer misst dieses scherenartige Nanosystem, das aus Bündeln aufgewickelter DNA besteht

Nano-hinge – lubricated by light

February 23, 2016

A nanoplasmonic system of DNA bundles can be opened and closed by optical means [more]

Research publications 2015

Nanotechnology: Tracking nanowalkers with light

September 24, 2015

A tiny gold rod walks across a surface guided by DNA and can be tracked step by step [more]


The magic of wound healing

March 05, 2015

The protein merlin regulates collective cell movement, promoting effective and rapid wound healing [more]

Research publications 2014

Tiny vehicles for medical applications

November 07, 2014

Micro- and nano-swimmers can be propelled through media similar to bodily fluids [more]


DNA used as a lightswitch

July 21, 2014

A nanostructure made from two tiny gold rods reversibly changes its optical properties when specific DNA molecules are added


Research publications 2013

The geometry of cancer cells

December 05, 2013

Malignant and healthy cells display characteristic fractal patterns, which can be used to tell them apart [more]


Designing and building nanocomponents to spec

August 13, 2013

Hybrid, multifunctional nanostructures with diverse 3D shapes and complex material composition can now be manufactured with a precise and efficient fabrication technique



It’s the fineness of the grind

July 22, 2013

In nanomaterials, the structure of the individual crystals changes with grain size [more]


A folding ceramic

March 27, 2013

A sophisticated nanostructure renders a wafer-thin paper made of electrically conductive vanadium pentoxide fibres both tough and pliable [more]

Research publications 2012

Deuterium from a quantum sieve

December 05, 2012

A metal-organic framework separates hydrogen isotopes more efficiently than previous methods [more]


Quantum stress in nanofilms

September 12, 2012

Electrons confined in an aluminium film of a few atomic layers thick create mechanical stress equivalent to up to one thousand times the standard atmospheric pressures [more]


Cell movement patterns

March 08, 2012

A method that enables scientists to grow cells on easily generated fine structures provides new insights into cell migration [more]

Research publications 2011

The world’s smallest steam engine

December 11, 2011

A heat engine measuring only a few micrometres works as well as its larger counterpart, although it splutters [more]


A quick switch for magnetic needles

April 12, 2011

Magnetic vortex cores, which can be used as particularly stable storage points for data bits, can now be switched much faster [more]


The "coolest" semiconductor nanowires

March 22, 2011

A new method permits cost-effective production of silicon nanowires [more]


Robots learn human perception

February 17, 2011

Michael J. Black teaches computers to analyse data on their environment as quickly and reliably as the human brain [more]

Research publications 2009

Diving into surfaces

December 07, 2009

Sylvie Roke from the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research in Stuttgart developed an optical method to investigate the surface structure of cells and emulsion droplets. The scattering of light discloses the surface structure and the size and shape of particles. [more]


Getting to the roots of lethal hairs

September 29, 2009

Fine metal hairs, also called metal whiskers, on tin-plated copper cause short circuits in electronic components [more]


Nanomaterials from the Biological Factory

April 10, 2009

Nature is a laboratory for particularly intelligent materials. This is what motivates Joachim Spatz, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research, to pursue his forward-looking vision of using living cells or their molecular components as a means of making innovative materials. [more]

Research publications 2008

Nothing stops an expert in the art of living

August 14, 2008

Researchers discover an anti-stick layer in plant bugs which allows these insects to live on the surface of sticky insect traps [more]


An organizer for structuring silicon

April 21, 2008

Materials scientists in Stuttgart control the crystallization temperature of silicon [more]


Forces out of nothing

January 09, 2008

Stuttgart-based physicists observe the critical Casimir force and use it to cancel out an effect that brings nanomachines to a standstill [more]

Research publications 2006

Magnetic Needles turn Somersaults

November 28, 2006

Max Planck researchers discover new possibilities for magnetic storage [more]


Beetle feet stick to their promises

November 03, 2006

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research in Stuttgart, joining forces with Gottlieb Binder GmbH in Holzgerlingen, are developing new kinds of adhesive material modeled on the soles of insects’ feet. [more]


Controlled Corrosion

February 10, 2006

A European team of researchers makes the first-ever atomic-level observations of the corrosion process, with implications for nanostructuring [more]


From Mirror to Mist: Cracking the Secret of Fracture Instabilities

January 19, 2006

Researchers from Max Planck Institute for Metals Research and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have performed atom-by-atom investigations of how cracks propagate in brittle materials [more]


Anti-adhesive layers leave no hope for insects

January 13, 2006

Scientists from Stuttgart demonstrate how carnivorous plants set traps using an ingenious material design [more]

Research publications 2005

Snapshots at the Atomic Border

November 28, 2005

Max Planck researchers in Stuttgart, Germany observe how atoms interact at the interface between a liquid metal and a crystal [more]


Hairy Feet Stick Better to Wet Ceilings

November 09, 2005

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research show that humidity strengthens the adhesive force of the tiny hairs on gecko feet [more]


How does "Open Sesame" Function for Viruses?

June 17, 2005

Max Planck scientists have found the optimal size with which viruses and nano-particles are able to enter cells [more]

Research publications 2004

Nanoscale contact optimizes adhesion

May 25, 2004

Optimal adhesion of geckos and insects based on shape optimization and contact surface size reduction, report Max Planck researchers in Stuttgart, Germany [more]

Research publications 2003

Brittle Fracture Mechanism breaks the Sound Barrier

November 13, 2003

Materials scientists discover the conditions under which cracks can propagate supersonically in brittle solids [more]


Nature designs hard and tough materials at the nanoscale

May 14, 2003

Max Planck scientists prove that the extreme strength of biomaterials is due to an as yet unknown flaw tolerance threshold in the nanometer range [more]

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