DFG To Set Up Two New Research Unit In The Natural Sciences

June 03, 1998

At its spring meeting, the Grants Committee of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) decided to fund six new research units. In these units several researchers - usually based at the same university - cooperate to solve a shared scientific problem. Research units are set up when a small, but highly significant scientific theme requires interdisciplinary cooperation. The programme is designed to help establish new lines of research work which as yet have not, or only insufficiently, been pursued in Germany.

Close to absolute zero many metals and metal-based compounds display an amazing physical property: They conduct electric current without any resistance and hence without any losses due to heat radiation. Helium, which is gaseous at room temperature, becomes superfluid at extremely low temperatures so that it flows up container walls and out of the container without any frictional loss. In the research unit Transport phenomena in superconductors and superfluids experimental and theoretical physicists at Bayreuth University intend to investigate these effects, described as superconduction and superfluidity. In the long run the project is meant to provide new impetus for research into superconduction and extremely sensitive particle detectors.

As yet, electromagnetic radiation in the sub-millimetre wave range has hardly been used in technology. High-frequency engineers and semi-conductor technologists from Hamburg, Erlangen and Darmstadt will get together in the supraregional research unit on Submillimetre wave circuit engineering to gain access to this frequency range. By generating high transmission power using semi-conductor elements they aim at creating the basis for a broader technical utilisation of this wavelength range. Potential applications are in atmospheric measuring technology, spectroscopy and inter-satellite communications.

The six new research units will now begin their activities. The DFG will fund their work by providing a total of about DM 7.3 million for an initial period of two years. Another DM 3.1 million were tentatively budgeted for the third year. As a rule, the total term of such programmes is six years.

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

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