Current Research Foci

Experimentelle Physik

On the basis of a tradition in physical chemistry and statistical physics represented by scientists such as Peter Debye, the Peter Debye Institute for Soft Matter Physics (formerly Institute for Experimental Physics I) has become an international renowned focal point for soft matter physics and its applications in biological physics, thereby developing and utilizing predominately photonic techniques. On the molecular scale the institute’s research is entrenched in the thermal and driven dynamics of macromolecules such as DNA and cytoskeletal filaments (Kremer, Käs, Seidel) and of nano- as well as microcobjects such as microswimmers (Cichos). Understanding soft matter from the bottom up has a defining moment on the active and passive material properties of biological cells (Käs, Mierke). Consequentially, the institute has a pioneering role in the Physics of Cancer (Käs, Mierke) acknowledged by leading Cancer Institutes. This research is possible due to ground-breaking technical developments of the institute in areas such as optical trapping (Käs), magnetic tweezing (Seidel), photothermal microscopy and thermal single molecule trapping (Cichos), which 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 the university (Prof. Klaus Kroy, Prof. Wolfhard Janke, Prof. Ulrich Behn) and is well embedded in the research landscape in Leipzig with close contact to many research institutions in Leipzig and Saxony.


Cooperating Departments


Light-driven Micromachines: Microparticles Stir Liquids


Scientists from Leipzig University have developed together with international researchers a tiny machine powered by a focused laser beam. The machine...

Biomimetic Molecules for Programming Cell Mechanics


Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology and Leipzig University are developing systems for the precise investigation...

Pupils Levitate Water by Means of Acoustic Waves in an Internship


Optical tweezers have become an important tool in the study of soft condensed matter. They can be used to trap colloidal particles and to measure...

Honors for Scientists from Leipzig University


A biophysicist from Leipzig University gives the renowned Woolmer Lecture. A chemist is honored with the Felix Bloch Prize. A mathematician and a...

letzte Änderung: 27.04.2018


Peter Debye Institute for Soft Matter Physics
Linnéstraße 5
04103 Leipzig

Prof. Dr. Frank Cichos

Andrea Kramer
Tel.: +49 (0) 341 97-32 654
Fax: +49 (0) 341 97-32 598


06.07.2018: Soft Matter Day

24.–26.09.2018: Physics of Cancer