Leading materials scientist of Mainz University is new Director of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids in Dresden

Claudia Felser remains at Mainz University as Director of the "Materials Science in Mainz" Graduate School of Excellence and Professor of Inorganic Chemistry and Analytical Chemistry


Professor Dr. Claudia Felser of the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry and Analytical Chemistry at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) was appointed Director of the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids in Dresden from December 1, 2011. Felser will not completely give up her professorship in Mainz but will remain at the JGU specifically in her role as Co-Director of the Graduate School of Excellence "Materials Science in Mainz" (MAINZ) and as Coordinator of the German-Japanese research group "Advanced spintronic materials and transport phenomena" (ASPIMATT).

The Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids was founded in Dresden in 1995 to create a forum for cooperation between the disciplines of chemistry and the physics of solids. Two of the directors from the very start, Professor Dr. Frank Steglich and Professor Dr. Rüdiger Kniep, retired in mid 2012. Kniep's successor will be Professor Dr. Claudia Felser, who has worked for many years in developing pioneering materials exhibiting unique properties. She enjoys an outstanding international reputation as an expert for Heusler compounds. Her approach to the subject is characterized by the application of ab-initio calculations of electronic structures that can be used for the development of solids with tailored characteristics.

"We start with a computer simulation. Based on what the simulation produces, we can then create compounds with the desired properties while also taking into account resource availability. Thin-film techniques make it possible for us to create new compounds atom by atom using the building block concept," explains Felser. Not least because of this approach and her excellent research results, documented through numerous publications in leading scientific journals, Felser was able to garner support from the European Research Council, which in November 2011 agreed to support her proposal for the "Design of New Heusler Compounds on an Atomic Scale" with a grant worth EUR 2.4 million.

Even though Felser's main interest is in basic research and she will be pursuing this at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids in Dresden, she is also open to the application-oriented facets of her research. This is demonstrated by her numerous patented products and application-oriented research projects, which receive support from both the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research as well as industrial sources. Felser collaborates closely with Stanford University in the USA, IBM, Schott, Bosch, and BASF. She received the State Order of Merit of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate in 2001 for her work on the establishing the NaT-Lab for schoolchildren at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.