Professorship for Inorganic Chemistry reappointed

Portrait Prof. Dr. Karl Mandel
(c) K.Selsam for Fraunhofer ISC

Prof. Dr. Karl Mandel new at the department

From April 2020, the W2 Professorship for Inorganic Chemistry is newly occupied with Prof. Dr. Karl Mandel.

Prof. Dr. Mandel succeeds Prof. Dr. Julien Bachmann who received the Chair for Thin Film Chemistry of the Cluster of Excellence Engineering of Advanced Materials (EAM) in 2019. The professorship is located at the Chair of Inorganic and General Chemistry.

Prof. Dr. Mandel studied mineralogy / crystallography, geology and geophysics (BSc.) at Ludwig Maximilians University and the Technical University of Munich. In 2010, he received a Master’s degree in materials science from the University of Ulm. He wrote his Master’s thesis at the University of Oxford.

He moved to Julius-Maximilians University (JMU) of Würzburg, where he completed his doctorate in 2013 with summa cum laude and habilitated in materials chemistry in January 2020 on the subject of “Functional supraparticles based on iron oxide and silica nanoparticle building blocks”. Despite offers to work at other universities, Karl Mandel has accepted FAU’s call.

“FAU Erlangen has always been my desired place of work. On the one hand, this has to do with the orientation of the research there, to which my own particle, material and nano research is very suitable. On the other hand, it has to do with the great willingness for interdisciplinary work that I see at FAU. I also had this impression in the selection process for the professorship, where my research, which is admittedly not easily stuck in a certain field of research, was met with great openness and great interest, although it is not the “typical” inorganic chemistry”, says Prof. Dr. Mandel. “This is certainly a particularity of the Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy at FAU and especially in the area of Inorganic Chemistry, which I do not know from many places.”

Karl Mandel received several awards during his academic training – including “Deutscher Studienpreis” of the Körber Foundation in 2014, the Max Buchner Research Grant and an award from the Alfred Kärcher Foundation in 2016. In 2017, he received a BMBF NanoMatFutur Grant of €1.8 Million, which he brings to FAU. At JMU, he was appointed a Emil Fischer Fellow as part of his habilitation. Mr. Mandel was also a Research Associate, Co-Group Leader, and is now head of the Particle Technology research group at the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research (ISC), Würzburg.

His research focuses on the synthesis of so-called functional supraparticles. The approach is to combine wet-chemically synthesized nanoparticle building blocks into more complex, particulate units, the supraparticles. Molecular components can also be added to these units. By combining the building blocks with their very characteristic physical properties, new functionalities can arise in the supraparticles that the Mandel research group is interested in. The particles often have direct application relevance. For example, the NanoMatFutur project NANO-ID is about developing supraparticles that carry a unique ID so that material and product flows can be traced, which is an important contribution to future recycling and a contribution to more sustainable use of materials.

An important tool for the production of the superparticles is spray-drying, which also plays an important role in other research groups at FAU, so that Mr. Mandel looks forward to many future synergies. Synergy is also the keyword: Basically, the research of the Mandel group thrives on interdisciplinary cooperation, since the topic of supraparticles is predestined per se to combine different molecular and nanocomponent developments from other groups – always looking for new functionalities for the tomorrows’s materials.