With the founding of the Herbert Gleiter Institute (HGI) in 2012 as a special unit within the Nanjing University of Science and Technology (NJUST), the basis was laid for a new research institution that is internationally visible and which focuses on innovative basic research in various new areas of materials science.
The strategic direction of HGI lies outside of the existing R&D 'mainstreams' and aims at new, creative ideas and concepts. These include, for example, new ways of specifically tailoring the mechanical properties of metallic systems through the introduction of nanostructures with well-defined size gradients displaying previously unattained plasticity and yield strength. Unexpected physical properties occur in so-called nanoglasses, which were introduced by H. Gleiter. Basically, they consist of two distinctly different and interwoven amorphous phases making them structurally different from both, metallic glasses and crystalline systems. Nanoglasses show completely new magnetic, mechanical and electronic properties that differ significantly from that of conventional materials. Research into these systems is still in its infancy, but it already revealed specific kinetic and thermodynamic properties that are not observable in any other known class of materials. The HGI was the first Chinese research institute to systematically investigate nanoglasses and their application potential together with its German sister-institutions.
Future-oriented new molecular functional materials for more effective catalysts, sensors and battery systems form another central topic of current HGI research which led to a number of new technological impact, in particular in battery research. In our research fields addressing the analysis and local manipulation of matter at the atomic and molecular scale, we developed of novel chemical surface reaction schemes that lead to organic and metal-organic products that cannot be produced by conventional chemical processes in the liquid or gas-phase. Going beyond that, we were introducing intelligent molecular swarms which are able to generate themselves in a first step on a metallic surface and then autonomously re-organize that surface atom by atom in a well-controlled and cooperative scheme.
All these novel research directions at HGI are based on a tight interdisciplinary collaboration with the world-wide leading scientists in their respective fields. Further developments of the current research directions at HGI will allow to establish new diagnostic and therapeutic tools in the fields of nanobio-technology and nanomedicine.
The research groups at HGI have access to state-of-the-art analytical techniques and high-tech laboratories located in a new research building. A central mission of HGI is to invite, in particular, young creative scientists from the national and international field to join HGI which is offering them the opportunity to develop their own independent research field.