1. October 2021 | Press releases:

Customised work in the nanoscale Manfred Hirschvogel Prize for Dr.-Ing. Sabrina Zellmer

How can nanoparticles be assembled into larger structures in a targeted manner? Sabrina Zellmer researched this as part of her doctoral dissertation at the Institute for Particle Technology at Technische Universität Braunschweig. For her outstanding research results, the Frank Hirschvogel Foundation has now awarded her the Manfred Hirschvogel Prize 2021, worth 5,000 euros, for the best doctorate at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering.

In recent years, complex and customised structures made of particles in the nano- and micrometre range have aroused great interest in various fields of application. Examples are catalysts or drug carriers, each of which requires a high surface area to be highly active, but are hardly manageable as small nanoparticles. Tailor-made hierarchical structures solve this problem – here the nanoparticles are stored together to form larger particles that have both a high surface area and good manageability. The applicability of this principle is directly related to the properties of the particles used, such as their size and morphology, as well as the interactions at the particle surface.

In her doctoral dissertation “Kleinmolekül-Stabilisierung und Sprühtrocknung von Metalloxid-Nanopartikeln“ (Small molecule stabilisation and spray drying of metal oxide nanoparticles), prize winner Sabrina Zellmer looks at the entire process chain of hierarchical particle structures from synthesis, stabilisation and functionalisation to processing and application.

Doctoral supervisor Professor Georg Garnweitner explains: “The work presented has made important contributions both to the understanding of fundamentals and to numerous fields of application. In this way, Dr.-Ing. Sabrina Zellmer has established the production of particle structures with almost arbitrarily adjustable porosity, which offer many advantages for various applications – for example, the release of active substances – and can now be systematically investigated.”

In his laudation, Professor Garnweitner also acknowledged the prize winner’s special commitment in the field of public relations, in supervising student internships and highlighted her team spirit as well as her integrative and communicative role at the Institute. “Through her enthusiasm for all professional and interdisciplinary topics, she was able to carry others along and implement all tasks in the shortest possible time with outstanding quality. I am very pleased that Dr. Zellmer has been awarded the Manfred Hirschvogel Prize 2021.”

The prize was presented in a small ceremony on the premises of the Centre of Pharmaceutical Engineering (PVZ) at TU Braunschweig in the presence of Dean Professor Klaus Dröder. In his welcome address, he thanked the Frank Hirschvogel Foundation, represented by Board of Trustees member Professor Michael W. Gee, for awarding the prize in recognition of excellent scientific achievement with social relevance and at the same time acknowledging the special commitment of the prize winner.

About the prize winner

Sabrina Zellmer studied Biochemical Engineering at TU Braunschweig. She then worked as a research associate and doctoral student at the Institute for Particle Technology. After moving to the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films (IST), she heads the department “Process and Production Engineering for Sustainable Energy Storage” since 2019.

About the prize

The Frank Hirschvogel Foundation awards the prize in honour of the life’s work of Dr. Manfred Hirschvogel. Since 2013, it has been awarded annually at all TU9 universities, the nine leading technical universities in Germany, for the best doctorate of the past year in the field of Mechanical Engineering.

The aim of the foundation is to build bridges between aspiring talents and experienced mentors between education and industry, equal opportunities for young people on their way to professional life and support for talented young people within the framework of selected programmes. The foundation recognises and rewards outstanding achievements with prize money, including the Manfred Hirschvogel Prize.