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Posted: Sep 05, 2011
Organic semiconductor research team nominated for 2011 Deutscher Zukunftspreis
(Nanowerk News) A group of researchers funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) is among the three research teams nominated for the Deutscher Zukunftspreis in 2011. Dresden-based researchers Professor Karl Leo, Dr. Jan Blochwitz-Nimoth and Dr. Martin Pfeiffer are among those hoping to win this year's Federal President's Award for Technology and Innovation along with €250,000 in prize money.
The winners will be announced at the official awards ceremony on 14 December 2011. German Federal President Christian Wulff announced the finalists at the IdeenExpo science fair in Hanover at the end of August. The DFG and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina nominated the team from Dresden for its innovative work on organic semiconductors and the development of a new technology that promises to produce more light and energy using wafer-thin layers of molecules.
In their quest to develop future technologies, the team around Professor Karl Leo at Dresden University of Technology has focussed on the innovative potential of organic semiconductors. The researchers have successfully created tailor-made synthetic materials with new and unusual properties that could be utilised across a broad range of products in the form of thin, flexible and transparent films. These materials promise applications in transistors, light-emitting diodes and solar cells and pave the way for innovative lighting and photovoltaic applications.
The researchers have also proven themselves proficient in the realm of practical application by developing a process for the fast and affordable production of organic light-emitting diodes (OLED). One key to their breakthrough: a better understanding of the material's ageing process. In future, organic diodes and light collectors will have a longer life cycle and display increased efficiency thanks to the team's efforts.
For the future the research team hopes to develop large-scale OLEDs that can be applied to walls, ceilings, and furniture like a second skin. Their light collectors promise to provide a more effective form of energy generation and could help to solve one of the most pressing challenges human society faces.
With a network of solar energy research and development facilities in and about Dresden, the city has proven to be an excellent setting for the trio: Professor Karl Leo is the head of the Institute of Applied Photophysics (IAPP) at Dresden University of Technology and director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS). He was awarded the DFG's Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize in 2002, and currently coordinates the DFG-Priority Programme "Elementary Processes in Organic Photovoltaics", from which six spin-off companies have emerged to date. Two fellow nominees are actively involved in these companies: Dr. Jan Blochwitz-Nimoth is Chief Scientific Officer at Novaled AG, and Dr. Martin Pfeiffer is Chief Technical Officer at Heliatek GmbH.
Since 1997, the German Federal President has awarded the Deutscher Zukunftspreis annually to innovative researchers that have successfully developed their research findings into market-ready technologies. Previous award-winning developments include an innovative LED technology, the MP3 audio format and a new hard drive technology. The Deutscher Zukunftspreis is one of the most prestigious and best endowed awards for applied research in Germany.