Nanomachines for technical and medical applications

© Julia Siekmann, Kiel UniversityAround 40 scientists from the Technical University of Moldova (TUM) and Kiel University (CAU) met last Friday for a workshop in Kiel. There, the researchers from physics and engineering discussed current results in the field of nanomaterials, as well as future challenges for medical applications. The reason for the meeting was to celebrate more than twenty years of research cooperation between the National Center for Materials Study and Testing at the TUM and the Institute for Materials Science at the CAU. Institute professor Rainer Adelung received the Dimitrie Cantemir Medal, the highest award given by the Academy of Sciences of Moldova, for his long-standing dedication to promoting international scientific exchange with Moldova.

 Exploration of complex issues requires different disciplines

Developments at the nano level will become more and more important in future - especially for medical applications. For example, tiny nanomachines such as "nano engines" could precisely transport medicinal substances in the body, thereby enabling targeted and thus less-harmful use of medicines. Also under discussion for the next generation of nanomaterials are ultra-lightweight composites made from a flexible network of carbon tubes and semiconductor nanoparticles. They could be interesting for applications in flexible electronics, photonics and sensor systems. Recently, a joint publication by the TUM and the CAU appeared in the renowned scientific journal Nano Energy.

© Julia Siekmann, Kiel UniversityJoint research projects such as this were discussed when scientists from Moldova and Kiel participated in the workshop hosted by the Faculty of Engineering at the CAU. The long-standing cooperation revolving around Professor Ion Tiginyanu, Director of the National Center for Materials Study and Testing at the TUM, and the Institute for Materials Science at the CAU, is an expression of the realisation that the exploration of such highly-complex issues requires a combination of different disciplines and perspectives.

"At their first meeting in 1998 Ion Tiginyanu and Helmut Föll - then head of the Institute, and founding dean of the Faculty of Engineering - recognised that their research on semiconductors and porous silicon could complement each other very well," said Adelung at the beginning of their current meeting in Kiel, looking back through the years. It quickly became a much broader German-Moldovan cooperation, with the aim of utilising synergies, and in this way strengthening their position in the research field of nanomaterials. "As Professor Föll’s successor, l am delighted that I can contribute to maintaining this long-standing cooperation," continued Adelung.

Achieve more together: publications, conferences and research visits

For these efforts, Adelung received the Dimitrie Cantemir Medal from Tiginyanu, acting in his other capacity as Vice President of the Academy of Sciences of Moldova. It is named in honour of the Moldovan universal scholar (1673-1723), and is the highest award given by the Academy. Vice President Tiginyanu thanked Adelung for his "remarkable commitment to this international cooperation, reflected in numerous joint publications and conferences."

© Siekmann, Kiel UniversityReciprocal research visits and exchanges for doctoral researchers are also an integral part of the long-term cooperation, with the aim of supporting early career researchers on both sides. Through scholarships from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), two doctoral students from the TUM, Vladimir Ciobanu and Irina Plesco, will spend the next six months in Kiel. In the working groups of Professor Lorenz Kienle and Professor Rainer Adelung, they will conduct research on the topics of microelectronics and nanomaterials. “Collaborations like this also demonstrate once again that research knows no national boundaries. This is particularly important for early career researchers", emphasised Tiginyanu during his visit in Kiel.

Broadening the scope of cooperation

In addition to the discussion of current projects, the workshop also included the identification of further research initiatives, which can be boosted through future cooperation. The strategic expansion of the cooperation, which has previously focused on material sciences research, should also enhance the international networking of the priority research area Kiel Nano Surface and Interface Science (KiNSIS). The workshop last Friday is part of a series of regular events, to further strengthen ties between nanoresearch in Moldova and Kiel in the future.

Details, which are only a millionth of a millimetre in size: this is what the priority research area "Kiel Nano, Surface and Interface Science – KiNSIS" at Kiel University has been working on. In the nano-cosmos, different laws prevail than in the macroscopic world - those of quantum physics. Through intensive, interdisciplinary cooperation between physics, chemistry, engineering and life sciences, the priority research area aims to understand the systems in this dimension and to implement the findings in an application-oriented manner. Molecular machines, innovative sensors, bionic materials, quantum computers, advanced therapies and much more could be the result. More information at