Prof. Thomas Elsässer receives an ERC Advanced Grant

Professor Thomas Elsaesser receives a prestigious Advanced Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) which supports, for a period of 5 years, basic research on dynamic electric interactions of DNA and RNA with ions and their water environment. The ERC Advanced Grant is endowed with up to 2.5 million euro and awarded to top researchers in Europe pursuing groundbreaking high-risk projects in science..

Thomas Elsaesser is a director at the Max Born Institute for Nonlinear Optics and Short Pulse Spectroscopy, a professor for experimental physics at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and a member of IRIS Adlershof. With his research on ultrafast phenomena in condensed matter, including liquids, biomolecular systems, and crystalline materials, he plays a leading role in ultrafast science worldwide. In his experiments, he combines methods of femtosecond spectroscopy and structure research with x-rays. He has received numerous awards for his scientific work, among them a first ERC Advanced Grant in 2009.

IRIS Adlershof congratulates and looks forward to the further close cooperation.



Cluster of Excellence Matters of Activity ventures on a new culture of the material

Matters of ActivityIn the Cluster of Excellence "Matters of Activity. Image Space Material", researchers from more than 40 disciplines collaborate in six subprojects to lay the foundations for a new way of thinking of the material. Key to this endeavour is the vision of re-thinking the object world not like commonly done as passive and rigid, but as based on active, changeable and recyclable building materials. Adaptive fiber architectures and complex structured biofilms are among the sources of inspiration for novel designs in the future. The cluster of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin is conceptually close to the Bauhaus as well as to the academic movement of New Materialism. The members of IRIS Adlershof Prof. Jürgen P. Rabe and Prof. Matthias Staudacher are involved as principal investigators in the cluster.



Enlightening full-color displays

Researchers from the University of Strasbourg & CNRS (France), in collaboration with University College London (United Kingdom), and Humboldt University Berlin (Germany), have shown that a subtle combination of light-emitting semiconducting polymers and small photoswitchable molecules can be used to fabricate light-emitting organic transistors operating under optical remote control, paving the way to the next generation of multifunctional optoelectronic devices. These achievements have now been published in Nature Nanotechnology.

Organic light-emitting transistors are widely recognized as key components in numerous optoelectronic applications. However, the integration of multiple functionalities into a single electronic device remains a grand challenge in this technological sector. Moreover, the next generation of displays requires to encode high-density visual information into single and ultra-small pixels.

Now a team of researchers from Strasbourg, London, and Berlin has taken a big step forward by creating the first organic light-emitting transistor that can be remote-controlled by light itself. They have been blending a custom-designed molecule as a miniaturized optical switch with a light-emitting semiconducting polymer. Upon illumination with ultraviolet and visible light, the molecular switch reversibly changes its electronic properties. As a consequence, the electrical and optical response of the device can be modulated simultaneously by light, which serves as an optical remote control.

However, having a device capable of producing only one color is not sufficient for daily-life applications, such as full-color displays. By choosing appropriate photoswitchable molecules and blending them with suitable light-emitting polymers, the researchers have demonstrated that this new type of organic light-emitting transistors can shine in the range of the three primary colors (red, green, and blue), thereby covering the entire visible spectrum.

The disruptive potential of such approach was demonstrated by writing and erasing spatially defined emitting patterns (a letter for example) within a single device with a beam of laser light, allowing a non-invasive and mask-free process, with a response time on the microsecond scale and a spatial resolution of a few micrometers, thus outperforming the best “retina” displays. Clearly, these findings represent a major breakthrough that offers multiple perspectives for smart displays, active optical memories, and light-controlled logic circuits.