New Collaborative Research Center at RWTH




Sandra Korte-Kerzel

Head of Institute


+49 241 80-26860



The German Research Foundation, DFG for short, has decided to establish ten new Collaborative Research Centers, CRC for short, at German universities. CRCs allow university researchers to work collaboratively with external partners on innovative, challenging, complex and long-term research projects. RWTH’s proposal for a CRC entitled “Structural and Chemical Atomic Complexity: From Defect Phase Diagrams to Material Properties” is among the projects approved by the DFG grants committee. The new CRCs will initially receive a total of 101 million euros in funding for four years.


Starting in January 2020, scientists from the Institute of Physical Metallurgy and Materials Physics at RWTH Aachen University, headed by Professor Sandra Korte-Kerzel, will design new materials from the atomic scale up. Partners in the research project include the Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung in Düsseldorf and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg.

Precisely tailored material strength, formability and corrosion resistance are among the key properties of successful structural materials. They make it possible to develop increasingly safe lightweight constructions for the mobility sector, build more efficient power plants, and conserve valuable resources through the use of sustainably available alloys.

The properties of a material are determined by imperfections (defects) at the atomic scale. These defects can now be explored with the help of experimental and computer-aided methods. The key objective is to use the knowledge of a material’s atomic structure and chemistry to describe and predict the stability of certain defects and to associate these with material properties. In this way, a tool for material design is to be developed, effecting a paradigm shift in the description of metallic materials.