Technische Universität Wien
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Research Focal Area Materials and Matter

Understanding the Properties of Materials

Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age – we name entire historical eras after these materials whose use became widespread at the time. Which materials will define our lives in the future? TU Wien is achieving important pioneering work in many different research projects in the search for the materials of tomorrow.

Material science is a particularly interdisciplinary field. Many research questions can only be answered if people from different scientific fields work together. At TU Wien there are highly successful cross-faculty research projects, for example the work on metal oxides, which is mostly carried out between the physics and the chemistry departments, or the light controlled production of micro-structures, in which research teams from mechanical engineering and chemistry are  collaborating.

Large and small

Material research is carried out on vastly different length scales. It is just as involved with the atomic properties of new types of nanostructures as it is with the strength of new building materials or special metals for cars or aircraft. Sometimes it is also essential to combine the microscopic and the macroscopic world in one research project. Macroscopic material properties can be explained at the micro level.

Completely new and exotic material properties promise exciting technological applications. Even today, the phenomenon of superconductivity is still presenting us with unresolved questions and fascinating new electromagnetic material properties play an important role in micro-electronics. In such fundamental research fields, material research is closely related to the research focal area of "Quantum Physics and Quantum Technologies" and "Computational Science and Engineering".

Many of the best materials have already been discovered by nature. Biomimetics, the imitation of ideas from nature for technological applications, plays an important role in material research. Micro structures on the skin of sharks optimise their hydrodynamic properties. Trees grow to a height of dozens of metres because their wood provides them with remarkable stability. If we understand nature's tricks, we can copy them and ultimately extend their technological use way beyond the examples from nature.