The engineering of multiphase and hybrid materials and the understanding and exploitation of interfacial phenomena for the design of new materials is the historical strength of INM.

Key features of our research approach are:

Interdisciplinary material synthesis: INM’s materials combine hard, soft, fluid and living components to achieve new functions. By molecular engineering of interfaces, we tailor the interactions of internal structures and develop materials with properties like dynamic connectivity, selective transport, friction-on-demand. Using synthetic biology, we program materials with life-like functions like self-repair or adaptivity.

Multimaterial and multiphase processing for functional integration and circularity: INM takes inspiration from nature and combines particulate systems, self-ordering, and self-growing phenomena and (additive) processing technologies to realize material architectures with geometrical complexity across lengths scales, thereby achieving advanced functionality and reduced environmental impact.

Correlative methods and sensor intelligence for understanding dynamics and complexity: We develop interface materials with multimodal sensing capabilities which are able to respond and adapt to different scenarios and needs during their lifetime. To understand and predict their complex behavior, we apply correlative characterization methods at simulated working conditions and develop sensorized materials for real-time function monitoring. With the resulting datasets, INM integrates data-based methods to accelerate discovery.

In the broad spectrum of properties and functions of engineered hybrid materials, INM aims for strategic leadership in three competence areas: