Research at IPS

Research at IPS focuses on topics within the program “From Matter to Materials and Life” (MML) of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers.

IPS develops and applies synchrotron-based photon science technologies for the characterization of structure, dynamics, and function in:  

Materials and Processes for Energy and Transport Technologies

  • Functional materials, thin-film and organic solar cells, organic light emitting diodes, printed electronics, batteries, cementitious materials, catalysts, lightweight materials, materials for photo-electrochemical water cleavage
  • Study of technologically-relevant processes, multiphase fluidics, injection moulding
  • Strain and damage propagation mechanisms in light-weight metals and alloys


Nanoscience and Materials for Information Technologies

  • Understanding microstructure and defect evolution during fabrication and processing of functional and strain-engineered thin films, nanostructures, and materials 
  • Tailoring structure & dynamics in laser-deposited ferroic films, sputtered coatings and multilayers, thermoelectric materials, rare-earth oxide films and III-V semiconductor nanostructures
  • Integrating fabrication and processing techniques such as PLD, MOVPE, MBE, sputtering, laser processing with in situ synchrotron characterization techniques

Life-Science Imaging


  • in vivo, hierarchical, and correlated imaging of complete organisms, tissues, cells and scaffolds
  • near-field and far-field image reconstruction and simulation, phase-recovery algorithms
  • dose-minimisation methods
  • ultra-fast 3D digitization of large sample collections
  • X-ray optics development (Bragg magnifiers)

IPS operates its own dedicated beamlines and experimental stations for X-ray spectroscopy, X-ray scattering / diffraction and X-ray imaging, together with on-site laboratory-based complementary methods (UHV technology, laser radiation, etc.) at the KIT synchrotron. Further activities include measurement campaigns and research collaborations at other synchrotron radiation sources, such as the ESRF (FR), DESY (DE), SLS (CH) or ALS (USA).