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Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 59 | 14. September 2017
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) established the Priority Programme “Tailored Disorder – A science- and engineering-based approach to materials design for advanced photonic applications” (SPP 1839). The programme is designed to run for six years. The present call invites proposals for the second three-year funding period.

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 written in English and submitted to the DFG by 7 March 2018. Please note that proposals can only be submitted via elan, the DFG’s electronic proposal processing system.

Applicants must be registered in elan prior to submitting a proposal to the DFG. If you have not yet registered, please note that you must do so by 21 February 2018 to submit a proposal under this call; registration requests received after this time cannot be considered. You will normally receive confirmation of your registration by the next working day. Note that you will be asked to select the appropriate Priority Programme call during both the registration and the proposal process.

If you would like to submit a proposal for a new project within the existing Priority Programme, please go to Proposal Submission – New Project – Priority Programmes and select “SPP 1839” from the current list of calls. Previous applicants can submit a proposal for the renewal of an existing project under Proposal Submission – Proposal Overview/Renewal Proposal.

In preparing your proposal, please review the programme guidelines (form 50.05, section B) and follow the proposal preparation instructions (form 54.01). These forms can either be downloaded from our website or accessed through the elan portal. Proposals by one applicant must not exceed 20 pages. Joint proposals may comprise five additional pages for each additional applicant.

The proposals will be evaluated in the course of a colloquium at the Straubing campus of TU Munich with short talks and poster presentations, currently scheduled for late May or early June 2018.

Further Information

More information on the Priority Programme is available at:

The elan system can be accessed at:

DFG forms 50.05 and 54.01 can be downloaded at:

For scientific enquiries please contact the Priority Programme coordinator:

  • Prof. Dr. Cordt Zollfrank,
    Technische Universität München,
    TUM-Campus Straubing für Biotechnologie und Nachhaltigkeit,
    Professur für Biogene Polymere,
    Schulgasse 16,
    94315 Straubing,
    phone +49 9421 187-450,
    Link auf E-Mailcordt.zollfrank@tum.de

Questions on the DFG proposal process can be directed to:

Programme contact:

Administrative contact:


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