New Delhi: With one collaborative research centre in chemistry and participation in a CRC/Transregio in mathematics, Heidelberg University has been successful in the latest approval round of the German Research Foundation (DFG). CRC 1249, “N-Heteropolycycles as Functional Materials”, is entering a second funding period. The research groups within the CRC aim to develop new organic semiconducting materials to be employed in transitors and solar cells and to investigate the elementary charge and energy transport processes that determine their properties. Prof. Dr Lutz H. Gade of the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry will continue to serve as spokesperson. CRC/TRR 191, “Symplectic Structures in Geometry, Algebra and Dynamics”, has likewise been funded for another four years. Thanks to the substantial contribution from Heidelberg researchers to the results in the first funding phase, Heidelberg University was established as an independent site of the consortium along with Ruhr University Bochum and the University of Cologne. Total DFG funding for both collaborative research centres is approximately 23 million euros.

flexible polymer
Integrated circuits on flexible polymer foils require soft organic semiconductor materials | © Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research
According to Prof. Gade, the semiconductors are not based on silicon but will be developed using a large and flexibly variable class of organic hydrocarbon compounds with ring structures that contain nitrogen atoms. Since these materials are “soft” and can be processed at low temperatures, flexible media can be used as supports for electronic components. The activities of CRC 1249 range from developing methods for chemical synthesis, to studying the physical, spectroscopic and theoretical characteristics of the newly developed organic semiconductors, and investigating their material properties in optoelectronic devices. In the first funding period, the researchers particularly explored the processes of charge transfer between the molecules, processes that are essential for semi-conductor behaviour. The focus of research during the next four years will include the interaction of light with matter in cavities, the ferroelectric properties of organic substances and their potential use, for instance, in neuromorphic storage elements which emulate the function of the human brain. The German Research Foundation is supporting CRC 1249 with approximately 9.3 million euros.

In addition to the Heidelberg University research groups from the three institutes of chemistry, the Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing and the Centre for Advanced Materials, researchers from the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart will also participate in the collaborative research centre.

CRC/TRR 191 is focusing its research on symplectic structures, which go back to the dynamical systems of classical mechanics. They act as the main link between different mathematical disciplines. As Prof. Dr Peter Albers, mathematician at Heidelberg University and co-spokesperson of the consortium, explains, the concept of symplectic structures enables projects with topics from geometry, algebra, and dynamics that go beyond the traditional boundaries of individual fields of mathematics. One of the objectives of the CRC/TRR is to develop a common symplectic language which will allow researchers to start and strengthen new cross-thematic collaborations. Planned cooperations include those at the intersection of algebraic and geometric representation theory with symplectic geometry as well as projects on so-called mathematical billiards with their dynamical properties and their visualisation. In the second funding period, the transregional collaborative research centre will receive DFG funding in the amount of approximately 13.7 million euros.

There are five research groups from Heidelberg University – from the Institute of Mathematics and the Interdisciplinary Center of Scientific Computing – participating in CRC/TRR 191. They will be exploring aspects of dynamical systems of geometric origin and their visualisation in particular. Transregional collaborative research centres are research consortia distributed across two or three locations.