Institute for Functional Materials

We examine the physical fundamentals of material properties using scattering methods (neutrons-, x-ray and dynamic light scattering). The general goal of our research is to jugde from the knowledge of the microscopic dynamics and structure for explaining the functional characteristics of condensed matter.

The chair E13 is a member of the Graduate School of Excellence "Materials Science of Complex Interfaces" in the Elite Network of Bavaria. Its focus is on the complex interfaces between soft matter such as biomolecules or synthetic polymers and solid surfaces such as metals and semiconductors.

The Department is involved in activities of the 'Munich School of Engineering " (MSE) of the Technical University of Munich. "TUM.Energy" is a cross-faculty research initiative of MSE with scientists from different disciplines working together in order to consider the central topic of energy with different methods, approaches and knowledge. The scientific priorities are represented by four networks with the common goal of a sustainable and secure energy provision for the future. Prof. Dr. Peter Müller-Buschbaum directs the "Renewable Energy Network" (NRG), a faculty-wide research network at the TUM, consisting of numerous departments that deal with the topic "Renewable Energy" (cf. TUMcampus Magazin, Cover, Issue 4/2013.

New materials for energy conversion and energy storage and new concepts for the controlled patterning of material interfaces are examined in the research network "Solar Technologies go hybrid (Soltech)". TUM is represented in the network with the Keylab "" under supervision of Prof. Dr. Peter Müller-Buschbaum. Research on solar energy conversion and storage based on nano materials and organic-organic and organic-inorganic hybrid systems are the focus of "".

Online article from "Die TUM" of Dec. 10, 2013: "Solarzellen-Verschleiß erstmals live im Blick - Röntgenunersuchung zeigt Strukturveränderungen in Solarzellen auf Polymerbasis"

Moreover, nano materials are examined in the context of "nanoTUM". The "TUM Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (nanoTUM)" coordinates the research and teaching activities in the field of nanotechnology. The work group of Prof. Müller-Buschbaum contributes studies of magnetic nanoparticles in polymer films and of the work group of Prof. Papadakis studies of block copolymers to this research network.

Since 2019, the Chair of Functional Materials has been a member of the interdisciplinary association TUM.Battery, which researches battery systems throughout their entire value chain.

At the European Polymer Federation (EPF) Prof. Müller-Buschbaum is acting as German Representative of the Polymer Physics Section since 2011.

Prof. Dr. Peter Müller-Buschbaum is a member of the Cluster of Excellence "Nanosystems Initiative Munich (NIM)". The cluster's research focus are design, control and application of artificial and multifunctional nanosystems. NIM comprises of five thematical sections. The Institute for Functional Materials researching the use of polymers in organic solar cells belongs to section 5, "Nanosystems for Energy Conversion".

In the framework of the European ERASMUS-MUNDUS-Programme students have the opportunity  to absolve a part of the two-year master programme MaMaSELF (Master in Material Science Exploring Large Scale Facilities) at our Chair. The MaMaSELF programme is a cooperation of TUM with LMU Munich, universities in France (Montpellier and Rennes) and Italy (Torino) as well as international partner institutes.
More Information  - Video - Contact person in Munich

Our Chair is involved in the Excellence Initiative of the TUM with research projects in "TUM International Graduate School of Science and Engineering" (IGSSE).

Prof. Müller-Buschbaum is a member of the TUM team "Interface Science for Photovoltaics" (ISPV). This project was organized by senior researchers from each of the four EuroTech universities in Munich, Eindhoven (NL), Lausanne (FR) and Denmark and awarded funding in early 2012. This initiative will further the development of future photovoltaic technologies and combine the knowledge from the fields of thin film and organic photovoltaics. ISPV focuses on fundamental issues within solar cell research.
Online article of June 17, 2015 on the website of the Physics Department: "Optimized printing process enables custom organic electronics"

On April 1, 2018, Prof. Müller-Buschbaum also took up the position as Scientific Director of the "Research Neutron Source Heinz Maier-Leibnitz (FRM II)", a central scientific institution of the Technical University of Munich. Here, our chair runs the high-resolution flight spectrometer "TOF-TOF". The TOF-TOF is characterized by the highest neutron flux at the sample, with very good energy resolution and excellent signal to background ratio.

In 2013, the new small-angle scattering instrument SANS-1 at the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum (MLZ) started operation and is opened for users. This is a project of Technische Universität München together with Helmholtz Zentrum Geesthacht (HZG). 

Small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) is used in a wide field of topics related to science and industry. As the method is sensitive to inhomogeneities in materials of the range 1 – 300 nm a variety of applications is possible. Typical examples in materials science are precipitates in alloys, alloy segregation, chemical aggregation, defects in materials or porosities. In the field of magnetism domain structures including domain walls in ferromagnetic systems, non-trivial magnetic structures in helical magnets, vortex lattices or superconductors are studied. Investigations of polymers, proteins, biological membranes, viruses, ribosomes or macromolecules are examples in the field of soft matter. In all these scientific areas in situ measurements under the variation of a parameter as for example temperature, magnetic field, pressure or loading get more and more important. Due to higher neutron fluxes and better neutron optics of modern SANS instruments a powerful technique with reasonable statistics for in situ experiments is provided.