The Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden - IFW - is a research institute in which scientists and engineers work together. They explore the physics and chemistry of materials that might be suitable for new functionalities and devices. Many disciplines come together at IFW: experimental physics, theoretical solid-state physics, chemistry, materials research and electrical engineering.
The IFW Dresden is a legally independent, non-university research institution and member of the Leibniz Association.
Materials play a very important role in technical progress in our society. New fundamental discoveries in physics or chemistry lead to the search for substances in which these new physical or chemical effects occur. Manufacturing processes and new devices and products need to be developed so that these new effects can be exploited. This has always been like this: already in the Stone Age, when the hardness of the stone was used for tools. It continued in the invention of alloys that gave their name to the Bronze Age and in the later use of iron in the Iron Age. Now, in the information age, we need materials for storing and transmitting information, for filtering waves of a particular frequency, shielding a magnetic field, converting heat into electricity, or storing energy. These processes take place at the level of molecules, atoms and electrons and are determined by the laws of quantum physics. Scientists at IFW Dresden explore these physical fundamentals.
On this basis, we develop materials that have completely new functions or can perform their function quite better. Here are some examples: flexible magnetic sensors, materials that conduct electricity without resistance or only in certain directions, biocompatible alloys, magnets that can cool their environment, or substances that convert heat into electricity.
The IFW Dresden employs about 500 people. Most of them are physicists, chemists or engineers. In addition, there are about 80 scientists working as scholarship holders and guests at the IFW. Many of them are young people still in education. At the IFW there are about 130 junior scientists working on their doctoral thesis who are involved in the research projects of the IFW. In addition, the IFW employs 20 apprentices.
Like all Leibniz institutes, the IFW is largely financed by public funds. These funds are provided 50/50 by the federal government and the German states. The basic financing of the IFW amounts to approx. 33 million euros annually. In addition to the basic funding, the IFW acquires project funding e.g. from the German Research raise approx. 9 million euros per year. The precondition for financing with public funds is that the research results are internationally competitive and relevant to the whole of society. These requirements are thoroughly reviewed every seven years.