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Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 58 | 1. Oktober 2014
Priority Programme „Tailored Disorder – A Science- and Engineering-Based Approach to Materials Design for Advanced Photonic Applications“ (SPP 1839)

The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has established a Priority Programme entitled ”Tailored Disorder – A Science- and Engineering-Based Approach to Materials Design for Advanced Photonic Applications” (SPP 1839). The programme starts in 2015 and is designed to run for six years. Applications are now invited for the first three-year period of this Priority Programme.

The Priority Programme aims at the investigation of photonic properties of materials with deliberately introduced and controlled structural and/or compositional disorder from a fundamental scientific perspective. Recent developments in this emerging research field showed that breaking periodicity opens fabrication routes for novel materials and devices with desired, unusual and unforeseen optical properties.

For the projects it is mandatory to identify design rules for artificial synthesis or fabrication of photonic architectures for the visible and NIR wavelength range with tailored disorder, in combination with one of the following research directions:

  • identification and characterisation of biological blueprints showing photonic nano-structures with properties originating from disorder,
  • development of theoretical and numerical tools to model structures with tailored disorder,
  • development of novel structures with properties that rely on tailored disorder.

The Priority Programme’s final goal is to comprehend, artificially design and fabricate a novel class of advanced photonic materials and custom-made devices for a variety of applications, the performance of which is related to tailored disorder within 2-D/3-D architectures.

However, projects in this programme shall not be concerned with metamaterials, individual plasmonic antennas or material systems, such as conventional photonic crystals, that derive their defining properties primarily from effective materials or their periodicity, and whose probably present intrinsic disorder is rather negligible or undesired and just happens due to arbitrary fabrication inaccuracies. Material systems that are not concerned with photon transport but other wave-like transport or scattering phenomena such as electron transport, sound waves, matter waves or spin waves regardless of whether they occur in ordered or disordered media shall also be excluded. Albeit chemical functionalisation to enable self-assembly aspects in the fabrication of disordered photonic structures shall be considered a valid topic to be addressed within this Priority Programme, self-assembly based on DNA-functionalisation shall be excluded.

The programme focusses on the generation of different types of tailored disorder in materials using a methodical science- and engineering approach in which various natural science and engineering science disciplines cooperate, by using e.g. inspiration from biological systems, results from physics, chemical approaches and validation from modelling, together with materials science and engineering achievements. Priority will be given to projects that combine at least two of the specified scientific disciplines to further promote the strongly desired overall interdisciplinary approach expressed in this programme.

Proposals must be submitted in English no later than 19 January 2015 via the DFG’s electronic submission system “elan” selecting “SPP 1893”. Please follow the guidelines for project submission according to forms 50.05 and 54.01. Proposals by one applicant must not exceed 20 pages. Joint proposals may comprise five additional pages for each additional applicant. If you are using the elan system for the first time, please note that you need to register yourself and your institutional address before being able to submit a proposal. Also, if you are planning to move to a different institution (e.g. with a Temporary Position for Principal Investigators) you need to register the new institutional address beforehand. Please make sure that all applicants of your project (in case there is more than one) start their registration at the latest two weeks before the submission deadline. The registration requests are handled manually by DFG staff.

Please notice the rules for publication lists that have been modified: Beside the general bibliography every proposal should include a list of up to ten publications that relate directly to the project. Further, the number of publications that may be listed in any academic CV has been increased to up to ten as well. These publications need to be classified as a) refereed publications (published articles and monographs; accepted articles with note of acceptance by the journal) or b) other publications.

Proposals will be evaluated in the course of a colloquium in Berlin with short talks and poster presentations, currently scheduled for March 2015.

Further Information

The DFG’s electronic portal “elan” can be found at:

Proposal guidelines and preparation instructions are outlined in DFG forms 50.05 and 54.01, which can be found on the DFG’s website at:

For scientific enquiries concerning the scope of the programme, please contact the Priority Programme’s coordinator:

  • Professor Dr. Silke Christiansen,
    Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie,
    Institute of Nano-architectures for Energy Conversion,
    Hahn-Meitner-Platz 1,
    14109 Berlin,
    silke.christiansen@helmholtz-berlin.de

Further instructions on submitting a proposal are supplied by the DFG:

For scientific matters:

For administrative matters:

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