The central research field of our institute is soft matter physics. Our activities build on a long, successful tradition in physical chemistry and statistical physics. This tradition was founded by well-known scientists like Peter Debye in Leipzig.
Our institute has become an international renowned focal point for soft matter physics and its applications in biological physics. An important methodological element is the use and development of photonic techniques.
On the molecular scale the institute's research is focussed on the equilibrium and non-equilibrium dynamics of macromolecules such as DNA, cytoskeletal filaments and polymers (F. Kremer, J. A. Käs, R. Seidel) and of nano- as well as micro-objects such as microswimmers (F. Cichos). Understanding soft matter from the bottom up makes it possible to understand the active and passive material properties of biological cells decisively (J. A. Käs, C. Mierke, M. Zink). Based on this, our institute takes on a pioneering role in the Physics of Cancer, that is, the physical understanding of tumour development and spread (J. A. Käs, C. Mierke).
This research is possible due to ground-breaking technical developments of the institute in areas such as optical tweezers (J. A. Käs), magnetic tweezers (R. Seidel), photothermal microscopy and thermophoretic traps (F. Cichos). They led to the founding of start-ups and close ties to national and international industry.
The institute has very active collaborations with the Institute for Theoretical Physics at our university (K. Kroy, W. Janke, J. Vollmer) and is well embedded in the research landscape in Leipzig with close contacts to many research institutions in Leipzig and Saxony.