The research of the Metals Systems Group

Hans Flandorfer and Klaus Richter jointly lead the Metals Systems Group. We synthesize metallic materials for a broad variety of potential applications from classical high-temperature and structural alloys to functional materials for electric, magnetic or catalytic applications.

Our group is focused on the fundamental aspects, so we are usually not working on the optimization of materials for specific applications. Besides synthetic aspects, we focus on deeper understanding of crystal structures, phase diagrams, thermodynamic and other physicochemical properties and structure-property relations of metallic materials. We are an experimental group but also use supplementary methods of thermodynamic modelling and quantum chemical calculations.

Liquidus projection with liquidus isotherms in the ternary system Cu-Li-Sn


Direct induction heating of small samples sealed into Ta crucibles allows fast heating to temperatures up to 1800°C.

Working with intermetallic compounds requires special techniques for synthesis at high temperatures and inert conditions. Our laboratories are well equipped with this kind of specialized devices like arc- and induction-furnaces, quartz-glass and tantalum sealing equipment, gradient furnaces, glove box and a high-quality vacuum line. Working with specially designed quartz-glass instruments belongs to our standard methods.

Materials characterization methods include thermal analyses (DTA, DSC, TGA) optical- as well as electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction using single-crystal- and powder-methods. Corresponding instruments are available in our group as well as in the core facilities of the faculty of chemistry.

Experimental methods for thermochemical characterization are a second focus of our group. We use high-temperature calorimetry as well as vapor pressure methods and EMF measurements.


Currently our main focus areas are intermetallic anode materials for new generation Li-ion batteries and the synthesis of intermetallic compounds via solid-gas reaction. Structuring of materials often necessary for improved performance of materials. Recent examples from our group are layered (2-D) vanadium selenides, intermetallic compounds as supported nanoparticles for catalytic applications and tin-sulphides or Si/tin-sulphide composites as anode materials.

SE image of misfit-layer compound in the system Se-Sn-V synthesized in a recent research project.

Hexagonally shaped crystals of SnS2 with high variation in size from hydrothermal synthesis.