Talks for the CRC Members in 2019

by Dr. Nicholas Maling, Boston Scientific

12.12.2019, 17:00 h, TF, Aquarium


Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an effective technology for the treatment of movement disorders and is growing rapidly to become standard of care for many patients suffering from PD. Although this excitement for positive clinical outcomes has led to the successful adaptation of the therapy for other movement disorders (and exploration of various non-movement disorders), the mechanisms of action of DBS remain poorly understood. The clinical effects of DBS depend on a thorough programming of the device to refine the stimulation delivered to meet the needs of the patient. Although the clinical evaluation remains the gold standard, fundamental investigations into the biophysical effects of DBS over the last twenty years have revealed much about potential mechanisms and strategies to optimize programming. Namely that stimulation preferentially activates axons over cell bodies, and that activation of different fiber tracts seem to be involved with different clinical effects – both beneficial and unwanted. Computational modeling allows us to integrate decades of biophysical knowledge to better understand stimulation fields within the patients brain, and have yielded simplified computational estimates of this activation volume known as a Volume of Tissue Activated (VTA). Although these models contain many assumptions that limit their interpretability, they are now available in commercial products to assist in clinical programming of patients. An understanding of these biophysical assumptions will help DBS physicians utilize models effectively while avoiding pitfalls.


by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ulrike Wallrabe, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

14.11.2019, 17:00 h, TF, Aquarium


In its beginnings, microtechnology used to be a 2D technology. With the photo resist SU8 and the Bosch deep reactive ion etching process also the third dimension became accessible, however, exclusively as height of the microstructures, leading to the “Manhattan style” profiles. This is why real 3D solenoidal coils did not exist in microtechnology which always limited the application of magnetic principles on the micro scale.

In my talk, I will introduce a new method how to overcome this restriction by automatic wirebonding, a, though serial, nevertheless extremely fast and well established back-end process in chip manufacture. Thereby, it is possible to wind solenoidal coils on-chip with a huge design freedom, either as single coils or as arrays. It is also possible to wind two coils on top of each other, thus providing the primary and secondary coil of a micro transformer for on-chip power management. In this context, also the material of the coil core comes into play, whether it is magnetic or not. I will show three types of transformers to demonstrate the material’s influence.

by Dr.-Ing. Katja Tonisch, Technische Universität Ilmenau

07.11.2019, 17:00 h, TF, Aquarium


Micromechanical resonators show significant promise for many sensor applications such as chemical and biological sensing, electrometry and scanning probe techniques. In these applications, a change in mass, temperature, charge, or any other applied force induces a small shift in the resonance frequency of the oscillator. Typically, resonators require both an actuation and a detection of the resonance frequency. The main advantage of using the (inverse) piezoelectric effect is the possibility to use it in both ways, the inverse effect as actuation and the direct one as detection. The exceptional properties of wide-bandgap III-V nitride semiconductors are promising for such applications. Among the nitrides, Aluminum nitride (AlN) has the largest piezoelectric coefficients and good mechanical strength, which makes AlN a favourite and often used material for electromechanical devices in micro- and nanometer scale. Only recently the ‘nitride universe’ was expanded by the introduction of Scandium. While pristine Scandium nitride is cubic, Scandium aluminium nitride (ScxAl1-xN) maintains the wurtzite structure of AlN up to a Scandium amount of approximately 45%. Especially the enormous increase in its piezoelectric properties while maintaining other advantageous properties like its high thermal stability makes ScxAl1-xN a promising material for novel sensor applications such as magnetoelectric MEMS.

Co-sputtered ScAlN layers are investigated using XRD, XPS, FTIR, Raman spectroscopy and spectral ellipsometry for scandium concentrations from 0 to 50 %. The impact of Sc incorporation regarding residual biaxial strain, bond softening and the change in electrical properties, as well as the impact on electromechanical sensors is discussed based on experimental results.

by Prof. Dr. Galina Kurlyandskaya, University of the Basque Country UPV-EHU

24.10.2019, 16:00 h, TF, Aquarium


Many traditional nanomaterials and composites are not suitable for the increasingly complex requirements of the fast-growing number of microsystems designed for environmental control,

biosensing, biomedical applications, drug delivery, national security and defense. The need for micro- and nanoscale sensors continues to challenge the materials science community to develop novel magnetic and composite materials. The principal requirements for a new generation of sensors are: high sensitivity, small size, low power consumption, stability, quick response, resistance to aggressive media, low price and operation by non-skilled personnel. Magnetic biosensors can be designed to take advantage of different types of magnetic effects such as magnetoresistance, Hall effect, giant magnetoimpedance (GMI). GMI offers the highest sensitivity with respect to applied magnetic field. The detection principles are measurements of resistance, impedance, etc. both without and in the presence of biocompatible magnetic nanoparticles. Magnetic particles in biosensors play a double role: they work as labels and as the carriers of the attached biological molecule. The improvement of the detection limit supposes not only the achievement of the optimal functional characteristics for each part of the device separately but also the development of pairs of best performance adapted to the conditions of the particular test. 

In this talk, I plan to discuss:

- magnetic multilayers for small magnetic field sensing devices; 

- electrophysical techniques for fabrication of large batches of nanoparticles for different composites; 

- refer to magnetic composites for high frequency applications and to ferrogels as new biomimetic materials for biomedical applications; 

- some examples of the available at our Labs measuring techniques for characterization of materials for high frequency applications; 

- discuss some GMI sensor prototypes. 

by Prof. Dr. Hiroshi Onishi, Kobe University, Japan

10.09.2019, 09:00 h, Physics Department, Leibnizstr. 19, 24118 Kiel, Room 614


Frequency-modulation atomic force microscopy (FM-AFM) is a promising tool to observe solid topography and also liquid structure at liquid-solid interfaces. The cantilever with a tip is mechanically oscillated. The shift of the resonance frequency, delta-f, represents the force pushing or pulling the tip. Microscopes with a force sensitivity of 10 pN or better in water and organic solvents have been developed and commercialized to date. Using the advanced microscopes, we have examined structured liquids at a number of interfaces including water-CaCO3, Al2O3, SrTiO3, hydrophilic molecular monolayers, organic compounds. The observed delta-f distributions are interpreted with water density distribution through Gibbs free energy perturbed by the solid surface. The force sensitivity of 10 pN is the key for probing force on single liquid molecules. Possible application of Δf mapping to tribology research will also be mentioned.

After the successful conferences in 2013, 2015 and 2017 the 4th European Symposium on Intelligent Materials will bring together experts in the field of intelligent materials to present and discuss recent developments and detect future trends. A focus of the conference is the interdisciplinary exchange between scientists from materials science, physics, chemistry and biology. Therefore, the European Symposium on Intelligent Materials 2019 is an excellent forum for discussions with international key researchers. It has the aim to stimulate new collaborations for developing novel intelligent material systems and characterizing their functionality, from molecular mechanisms to applications.
The CRC 1261 ist again closely cooperating with the conference and contributions related to the CRC's research spectrum are included in the programme

Besides various young researchers and experienced professionals the following invited speakers will present their research:

  • Rainer Adelung, Kiel University (Germany)

  • Longqing Chen, Penn State (USA)

  • Martina Cihova, ETH Zurich (Switzerland)

  • Franz Faupel, Kiel University (Germany)

  • Thorsten Gesing, University of Bremen (Germany)

  • Julia Greer, Caltech (USA)

  • Richard James, University of Minnesota (USA)

  • Ali Khademhosseini, UCLA (USA)

  • Cornelia Lee-Thedieck, Leibniz University of Hannover (Germany)

  • Reidar Lund, University of Oslo (Norway)

  • Jeffrey McCord, Kiel University (Germany)

  • Dennis Meier, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norway)

  • Christelle Prinz, Lund University (Sweden)

  • Shashank Priya, Penn State (USA)

  • Daniel Sando, University of New South Wales (Australia)

  • Anne Staubitz, University of Bremen (Germany)

  • Berit L. Strand, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norway)

  • Nian Sun, Northeastern University (USA)

  • Patrik van Rijn, University of Groningen (Netherlands)

  • Stephan Wulfinghoff, Kiel University (Germany)

Link to complete programme

by Prof. Dr. Paulo Freitas, International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory, Braga, Portugal

14.02.2019, 17:00 h, TF, Seminar room C-SR 1


Spintronic sensors are being used for a variety of applications from read heads in hard disks and memory elements in MRAM cells, to current, position (linear and angular), and magnetic field sensors used in automotive, a variety of industrial, and more recently in biomedical/biosensor applications1,2,3. These magnetoresistive sensors can be integrated over CMOS in a back end process (MRAM and monolithic sensors). For most applications, S/N at the relevant frequency of operation (from DC to GHz), thermal stability ( of the various magnetic layers in the stack), voltage output, determine the type of sensor to be used. Typical GMR/TMR individual sensors with micron size features reach detectivities down to few nT at low frequencies (10Hz). When connected in arrays, S/N can be improved by SQR N. Soft flux guides can also be used (gain up to few hundred). With these architectures detectivities down to 10 -100pT at 10Hz can be reached. These sensors can also be fabricated in flexible polyimide substrates if required keeping standard characteristics, as well as be integrated in MEMS structures as cantilevers and microneedes. Examples of applications in the biomedical area will be given (protein or DNA integrated biochip platforms, integrated cytometers use for cell/bacteria separation and enumeration, magnetrodes used for neural magnetic field recording).

1 “Spintronic Sensors”, P.P.Freitas, R.Ferreira and S.Cardoso, Proceedings of the IEEE, 104 (10), pp. 1894 - 1918 (2016); 10.1109/JPROC.2016.2578303

2 “Challenges and trends in magnetic sensor integration with microfluidics for biomedical applications”,S.Cardoso, D.Leitao, T.Dias, J.Valadeiro, M.Silva, A.Chicharo, V.Silverio, J.Gaspar and P.P.Freitas, Journal of Physics D-Applied Physics, 50 (21), 213001 (2017);

3 “Lab-on-Chip Devices: Gaining Ground Losing Size”, V.C. Romao, S. A. M. Martins, J.Germano, F. A.Cardoso, S.Cardoso, P.P. Freitas, ACS Nano 11 (11), pp 10659–10664 (2017); DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.7b06703


by Prof. Dr. Dave C. Johnson, University of Oregon

05.02.2019, 16:00 h, TF, Aquarium


By controlling the composition of an amorphous intermediate on the nanoscale it is possible to kinetically control the self-assembly of new nanostructured compounds consisting of two or more compounds with different crystal structures that are precisely interleaved on the nanoscale. We have used this approach to synthesize hundreds of new metastable compounds with designed nanostructure, including structural isomers. Many of these materials have unprecedented physical properties, including the lowest thermal conductivities ever reported for a fully dense solid, systematic structural changes dependent on nanostructure, and charge density wave transitions. The ability to prepare entire families of new nanostructured compounds and equilibrating them to control carrier concentrations permits a new "thin film metallurgy" or “nanochemistry” in which nanostructure and composition can both be used to tailor physical properties, interfacial structures can be determined for precisely defined constituent thicknesses, and interfacial phenomena and modulation doping can be systematically exploited.

by Prof. Dr. Leonhard M. Reindl, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

04.02.2019, 17:15 h, TF, Aquarium


Wireless sensor or actuator systems, like portable phones, remote control, ID cards, or embedded wireless sensor nodes play an ever growing role in our industrialized environment. Those systems were enabled due to the steadily decreasing power consumption of high integrated ICs. Most such systems are powered by batteries or inductive coupling. In this presentation several concepts for an alternative power supply of wireless sensor or actuator systems are discussed in detail.

Batteries, although today mostly used, suffer from a limited storage capacity, which induce a labor and sometimes cost-intensive periodic maintenance, and also a problematic ecological impact. The usable range for inductive coupling systems is restricted to a distance of about the aperture of the coupling coil. UHF systems operate in the far field and reach higher distances. Their operating range is limited by the distance where the voltage at the feeding point of the antenna becomes too low to drive the rectifier circuit. Larger read out ranges become feasible by omitting the rectifier stage. In this case we need either a passive frequency modulating device to shift the read out signal to a side band, or a resonator with a high quality factor, like a SAW, BAW, or a dielectric resonator, to store the energy until all environmental echoes are fade away. For many applications, both indoor and outdoor, energy harvesting system become feasible which convert ambient power densities like light, RF fields, local or temporal thermal gradients, or mechanical vibrations into electrical supply power for the wireless system.

All those systems strongly suffer from a lack of energy. Thus new concepts for lowering the power consumption of a wireless sensor or actuator system - by keeping their performance - remain extreme important. Hereby, a wireless wake up receiver technique is presented which operates on a current requirement as low as 3 micro A.

Several application examples of the presented systems will be given, e.g., sensors for industry 4.0, indoor position sensors, inductively transmitted power to implants, and high temperature wireless sensors.



Prof. Dr. Gerhard Schmidt

Kiel University
Institute for Electrical Engineering and Information Engineering


Internal server



Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (CAU)

Christ.-Albrechts-Platz 4
D-24118 Kiel


University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein, Campus Kiel (UKSH)

Arnold-Heller-Straße 3
D-24105 Kiel


Fraunhofer Institute for Silicon Technology, Itzehoe (ISIT)

Fraunhoferstrasse 1
D-25524 Itzehoe  


IPN - Leibniz-Institut für die Pädagogik der Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik 

Olshausenstraße 62 
D-24118 Kiel

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