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Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 72 | 4. November 2015
Priority Programme „Manipulation of Matter Controlled by Electric and Magnetic Fields: Towards Novel Synthesis and Processing Routes of Inorganic Materials“ (SPP 1959)

The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has established a Priority Programme entitled ”Manipulation of Matter Controlled by Electric and Magnetic Fields: Towards Novel Synthesis and Processing Routes of Inorganic Materials” (SPP 1959). The Priority Programme will start in 2016 and is designed to run for six years. Applications are now invited for the first funding period of three years.

The use of external electric and magnetic fields offers additional degrees of freedom to synthesise materials, tailor microstructures and final properties through acceleration or retardation of reactions, stabilisation of metastable phases, independent control of densification and grain growth, and the possibility of near-net-shape manufacturing with high strain rates under reduced stress and temperature. Although evidence for the interactions between external electromagnetic fields, diffusion and irreversible deformation mechanisms have been gathered over the years, a global yet detailed understanding of the interactions between electromagnetic fields and solid-state matter transport is far from being reached.

The objective of the present Priority Programme is to develop a unified description of matter transport activated in inorganic solid materials by electric field or current and magnetic fields based on experimental evidence and complementary computational simulations. Irreversible transformations from an initial state (which can be a mixture of solid state reactants, powder compacts, or already fully dense heterogeneous crystalline materials) into a final state (new phases and microstructures, deformation state) will be considered. In that respect, defects such as single or clustered point defects, dislocation networks, interfaces between two reacting solids, grain boundaries or pores play a key role, as their structure and mobility determine the response of the whole material.

The research will be focussed on the following areas:

  • synthesis and phase formation by solid-state reactions and diffusive phase transformations
  • densification of particle-based materials and microstructure coarsening (pore elimination and grain growth)
  • mechanical deformation (plasticity and creep)

A further, essential goal of this Priority Programme is to link atomistic mechanisms to macroscopic behaviour in a multi-scale approach. The challenge is to combine advanced simulation methods at different time and length scales to predict microstructure evolution and properties such as the deformation behaviour, which can be experimentally assessed. This goal can only be reached by bringing groups from different disciplines together to combine their complementary expertise. Therefore joint proposals are encouraged.

Model materials with defined composition and properties are preferred, in order to systematically investigate the effects of a particular type of electromagnetic loading on microstructure evolution and deformation. The materials under focus are metals and intermetallics, oxide and non-oxide ceramics in their solid state, so that different types of interatomic bonds and electric/magnetic properties can be covered. The selected materials may be investigated as bulk, thin or thick films. Major constitutive phases should be crystalline. Polymers and polymer-based composites are excluded.

The external fields considered will be pure, homogeneous electric or magnetic fields, with constant or time-dependent amplitude. Frequencies up to the microwave regime will be investigated, while infrared, visible, ultraviolet radiations, X-ray and γ-rays are excluded. More specifically, the Priority Programme aims at investigating novel approaches going beyond current technologies. Studies with commercially available techniques such as Spark Plasma Sintering should focus on the understanding of mechanisms. Materials or process optimisation is not intended in the present programme.

Only synthesis and processing methods of solid phases relying on the irreversible effects of electromagnetic loading will be considered. This means:

  • no machining or additive manufacturing process such as electro-discharge machining, electrochemical machining, electro-spinning, etc.
  • no solvent based process: electrolysis, electrodeposition/electroplating, etc.
  • no green body shaping (electrophoresis) or texturing (by orienting particles in a fluid)
  • no piezoelectricity/ferroelectricity, electrostriction/magnetostriction, magnetic shape memory alloys, etc. based on reversible effects and/or the reorientation of domains
  • no bonding if not accompanied by phase transformations or electro/magnetoplasticity

Proposals must be submitted in English no later than 2 February 2016 via the DFG’s electronic submission system “elan” selecting “SPP 1959”. Please follow the guidelines for project submission according to the DFG’s 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 (form 1.91): Beside the general bibliography every proposal should include a list of up to ten publications that relate directly to the project. Furthermore, 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 with short talks and poster presentations, currently scheduled for April/May 2016.

Further information

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

Proposal guidelines and preparation instructions are outlined in DFG forms 50.05, Part B, 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.-Ing. Olivier Guillon,
    Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH,
    Institut für Energie- und Klimaforschung (IEK),
    Werkstoffsynthese und Herstellungsverfahren (IEK-1),
    52425 Jülich,
    phone +49 2461 615181,

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

For scientific matters:

For administrative matters:

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