International Max Planck Research School for Surface and Interface Engineering in Advanced Materials

This doctoral programme offers especially gifted students from Germany and abroad the possibility to prepare for their PhD exam in a structured program. A unique combination of excellent research conditions plus an intensive and interdisciplinary teaching programme are part of it. The working language is English. After successful completion, the students are awarded a doctorate degree from the Ruhr University Bochum plus an IMPRS certificate from the Max Planck Society.

The school provides scholarships, students with an already existing funding can also apply.

This Research School (SurMat) represents a cooperative effort involving the Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH (MPIE) in Düsseldorf, the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung in Mülheim, and the Ruhr University (RUB) in Bochum.

IMPRS-SurMat covers topics ranging from fundamental scientific issues to engineering applications. These topics include

  • Catalysis and electrocatalysis (design of large active surfaces, fuel cells, structure-reactivity relation)
  • Corrosion and corrosion protection (local electrochemistry, oxygen reduction reaction, intelligent protecting systems)
  • Properties governed by internal interfaces (grain/grain interactions, precipitation processes, analysis of microstructures)
  • Model interfaces and thin films (adhesion, polymer/metal interfaces, self-assembling layers)
  • Computational material design and atomistic modeling at interfaces
The laboratories within IMPRS-SurMat are equipped with sophisticated surface and interface analytical techniques. For theoretical studies, cutting edge computational facilities and high performance computational tools are available.

As the close collaboration between science and engineering departments is the key factor for knowledge-based surface and interface engineering each PhD student will be supervised by more than one member of SurMat and typically by members of both the surface science and the materials engineering community.

In addition to research, the interdisciplinary education of students is of particular importance for SurMat. The aim is that each student will gain an insight in concepts and methods of interface analysis and engineering that can be applied in various fields of advanced materials development such as metals, coatings, electronics and medicine.

Therefore IMPRS-SurMat includes intensive teaching in four summer and winter schools, as well as regular seminars and research symposia. The schools focus on the physical chemistry of surfaces and interfaces, phase transformations induced by the presence of interfaces, mechanical properties of interface dominated materials, thin films, nano-scale patterning and multiscale modeling of materials. Besides classes, students are trained in dedicated lab courses and tutorials and receive strong mentoring. Students are encouraged to attend international conferences in order to present the results of their research.