Functional particles

Nanoparticles with a diameter in the range of 50 up to 300 nanometers are synthesized at Fraunhofer IGB of organic as well as inorganic materials. Our research focuses on the design of customized nanoparticles as carriers for biotechnology and medicine and separation tasks in chemistry and environmental applications.

Core-shell particles are functional composite materials combining at least two different functions: those of the particle core and those of the particle surface or shell. In the preparation of particles, at the Fraunhofer IGB the focus is on the design of the surface, for example by binding biological molecules. However, the cores can also be given additional functions, e.g. by loading with dyes or drugs for drug release applications.

Fields of research

Functional particle cores

  • Inorganic core
  • Organic, biodegradable particles
  • Surfmer nanoparticles


Functional particle shells

  • Organic functional groups
  • Active ester surface
  • Click chemistry functions
  • Biofunctionalization


Particle synthesis

  • Particles through spray drying
  • Particles through polymerization processes
  • Particles through sol-gel methods

Particle materials

We prepare micro- and nanoparticles from various materials.

Biobased particles

  • Gelatine
  • Chitosan
  • Alginate
  • Inulin
  • Lignin

Biodegradable particles

  • PLGA
  • PLA

Inorganic particles

  • Silica
  • Gold


To optimize the desired material properties, the surfaces of nanoparticles and microparticles can be additionally equipped with functional properties and active groups.


Functional surfaces

  • Specific adsorber particles
  • Biofunctionalization
  • Click-chemistry funktions
  • Active esters

Functional particle nuclei

  • Inorganic core
  • Organic degradable loaded particles
  • Surfmer nanoparticles

Application areas and references


Adsorptive separation and purification

Adsorber particles are suitable for selective separation of valuable or interfering substances. The adsorption process developed for α-tocopherol is applicable on a pilot plant scale.



Medicine and biotechology

We can use functional particles to make tumor tissue visible or to bind biological substances such as cytokines.


Immobilization of enzymes

Enzymes are versatile biocatalysts; however, their technical application is often limited by poor long-term stability. We can circumvent these weakness by immobilizing the enzymes to functional particles.


Fields of research


Core-shell particles for chemistry and environment

Core-shell particles are functional composite materials combining at least two different functions: those of the particle core and those of the particle surface or shell. We focus on the design of the surface, e.g. by binding biological molecules, and on additional functions of the core, e.g. by loading with dyes or magnetic properties.


Active agent formulation

A major challenge in medicine is the selective transport of active agents to the damaged tissue or organ. Cell membranes are the most important barriers for a targeted drug delivery. Another problem is the degradation or derivatization in the body. A way to circumvent these disadvantages is the manufacturing of particulate active ingredient formulations, where the active agent is bound into a polymeric shell or matrix.


Printing processes and formulation of inks

Among the established printing techniques, inkjet printing offers a highly attractive technique to generate two- or even three-dimensional structures that have been designed before at the computer. At the Fraunhofer IGB ink formulations for processing a variety of functional components such as hydrogels, nanoparticles, proteins and conductive materials are developed.