Custom-made high-performance materials are revolutionizing the world of electronics, optics, catalysis and lightweight construction. In Erlangen, materials science innovation starts at the atomic level and influences the entire process chain to achieve macroscopically visible results.

The former Cluster of Excellence Engineering of Advanced Materials – Hierarchical Structure Formation for Functional Devices (EAM) was situated at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) and was part of the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments from 11/2007 – 10/2019. It was the only interdisciplinary research collaboration of its type in Germany to focus on the investigation of functional materials and their processing at all length scales. Its research centers on the fundamental and applied aspects of designing and creating novel high-performance materials.

Main Achievements EXC EAM 2007-2019


Particle technology (A1), analytical tools and methods (A2), and multiscale (both temporal and spatial) modeling and simulation (A3) were Research Areas of central importance to all areas of EAM during the DFG project funding. Their overall goal was to develop common methods for fabricating building blocks (molecules and particles) that were required for formatting structures in the Research Areas B, C, D and E.

These four application-oriented Research Areas were organized in interdisciplinary process chains for the engineering of specific material classes: Nanoelectronic Materials (B), Photonic and Optical Materials (C), Catalytic Materials (D) and Lightweight Materials (E). Demonstrators were developed in these Research Areas in close cooperation with external academic and industrial partners integrated in the EAM.

Track record (1 December 2019)

  • 2,518 publications
  • 30% in journals with an impact factor > 6 (e.g. 46 publications in Nature group)
  • 25% of all publications across EAM research areas
  • 34 % of all publications involving 2 or more EAM members

285 doctoral theses completed / 133 ongoing doctoral theses on EAM topics

Active collaboration across 8 disciplines – between eight Departments of the Faculties of Engineering and Sciences: Applied Mathematics, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Computer Science, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Physics.

Strategic alliances with BayerAG, BASF SE, BMW, Clariant/Süd-Chemie, Greenerity/SolviCore, Lanxess, Merck, P&G

New DFG coordinated programs initiated and supported by EAM members

  • 3 Collaborative Research Centers (CRCs)
  • 1 Transregio (TR/CRC)
  • 2 Research Training Groups (RTGs)
  • 2 Research Units (RUs)

EAM researchers received 18 ERC Grants (6 ERC Starting Grants, 3 ERC Consolidator Grants, 9 ERC Advanced Grants)

13 EAM Starting Grants granted to junior group leaders (five of these projects have sucessfully applied for an ERC Grant)
75 national and international patents are held or have been applied for

8 demonstrators developed


At the Cluster of Excellence EAM, 200 researchers from 9 disciplines (Applied Mathematics, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Chemistry, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Physics and Medicine) collaborated in 90 projects in basic research as well as in many areas of application. EAM’s aim was to recruit excellent researchers and highly promising young talents to satisfy strategic needs of FAU in research and strengthen the new research structure on a sustainable longterm basis. Therefore, EAM implemented a total of 13 new professorships at FAUs Faculty of Science and Faculty of Engineering.

13 new EAM professorships (permanent or tenure-track)

  • Institute for Multiscale Simulation
  • Chair of Applied Mathematics (Continuous Optimization)
  • Chair of Chemistry of Thin Film Materials
  • W2 Nanostructured Particles
  • W2 Particle Synthesis
  • W2 Catalytic Reactors and Process Technology – EAM Award
  • W2 Theoretical Physics (Physics Underlying Life Sciences)
  • W2 Nanomaterials Characterization
  • W2 Experimental Physics (Scanning Probe Microscopy)
  • W2 Atom Probe Tomography
  • W1 Self-Organization Processes (tenure track)
  • W2 Computational Materials Microscopy (tenure track)
  • W2 Data Science (tenure track)

25% of all appointed professorships are female

>80 EAM members


EAM is a central institution of the University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU)

Integrated Graduate School

3 new interdisciplinary centers for cross-sectional topics with permanent staff

  • Center for Functional Particle Systems (CFPS) – Research Area A1
  • Center for Nanoanalysis and Electron Microscopy (CENEM) – Research Area A2
  • Central Institute for Scientific Computing (ZISC) – Research Area A3

2 Transfer centers

  • Technology transfer center for novel materials and production processes of components applied in process engineering VerTec, Fürth
  • Energy Campus Nuremberg EnCN, Nuremberg

Foundation of Helmholtz-Institute Erlangen-Nürnberg for Renewable Energy (HI ERN) in 2013

5 new EAM buildings and one HI ERN building (total working space >11,000 m², total cost >100 million euro)

  • Building for the transmission electron microscope (TEM) – 90 m²
  • Building for Particle Synthesis – 188 m²
  • Buildings for Electronic Materials and Catalysis and reconstruction technical chemistry hall – 2,280 m²
  • Center for Functional Particle Systems – 1,426 m²
  • Interdisciplinary Center for Nanostructured Films – 4,638 m²
  • Helmholtz-Intitute Erlangen-Nürnberg for Renewable Energy – 2,935 m²

New major instrumentation related to EAM in operation (18.2 million euro)


  • 82.5 million euros from DFG Excellence Initiative
  • 143.7 million euros from University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), state & federal government, industry (since 2008)