Independent Research Units

Structure formation in soft matter (Dr. Christian Bahr)
The group is engaged in experimental studies of liquid crystals and similar materials at interfaces. Main topics are wetting, anchoring, and other interface-induced phenomena, defects in smectic films, and the use of liquid-crystal structures for new self-organizing soft matter systems. more
Cluster Dynamics (Prof. Dr. Udo Buck)
The main research interests are the structure and dynamics of hydrogen bonded, neutral clusters: methanol, ammonia, and water. The speciality of the group is the size selection of the clusters. Up to n=12 this is carried out by momentum transfer in collisions with rare gas atoms. For large clusters, the method of doping the clusters with sodium is applied. With these clusters ambitious spectroscopic experiments as well as scattering and dissociation processes have been measured. Very recently the transition to crystalline ice was observed at n=475.
Dynamics in mesoscopic systems (Dr. Ragnar Fleischmann)
Many Systems in nature, especially complex systems, are characterized by several or even many typical length scales where different physical mechanisms are important. Dynamics on length scales inbetween the extrema of these characteristics is called "mesoscopic".

Examples of systems we study are electronic nano-structures with dynamics inbetween quantum and classical mechanics but also the wave propagation in correlated, weakly disordered media on length scales below the mean free path but above the wavelength and the intrinsic scales of the medium.
We explore universal mechanisms that lead to extreme events in systems that are so diverse as the electron dynamics in semiconductors, the sound transmission through turbulent media and the propagation of tsunamis in the ocean.
Physics of social systems (Dr. Knut Heidemann)
We study systems that involve a 'human component'. We try to find 'the right' tools to understand social systems on various scales – from minimal model systems showing collective behavior (e.g. emergence of cooperation) to societal transformations (e.g. towards sustainable mobility). We apply methods from statistical physics, computer simulations, as well as empirical data analysis. more
Experimental Statistical Physics (Dr. Peter Keim)
Group funded by the Heisenberg program of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

I am interested in structure formation, self organization, spontaneous symmetry breaking (in and out of equilibrium), and dynamic arrest with focus on the underlying microscopic processes. The physics of low dimensional systems is often more complex and possesses a richer variety of excited states compared to 3D systems. Examples range from Quantum Hall effect for 2D electron ensembles in MOSFET or Dirac cones in Graphene to classical systems and their phase transitions in 2D. more
Theory of Turbulent Convection (PD Dr. Olga Shishkina)
The research of our group focusses on the nature of turbulent flows, in particular, the physics of turbulent thermal convection. This includes the investigation of natural, forced and mixed convection; coherent flow structures, boundary layer structures, small-scale turbulence in buoyancy-driven flows; the influence of rotation, non-Oberbeck-Boussinesq effects, non-monotonic fluid properties, wall roughness and domain geometry on turbulent convection. Apart from the physics of turbulence itself, we are also interested in the numerical issues and aspects of turbulence simulations.
Research interests in natural and applied sciences and engineering include in particular the large-scale oceanic circulation, wind chill effects in hot and cold regions, supergranulation in the solar upper convective zone, heat and mass transfer in nanofluids, surface-tension-driven convection and vibration-induced convection in low gravity, improvement of the efficiency of technological heating and cooling processes, control of ventilation processes in living quarters and in transport.
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