Prof. Dr. Helmut Cölfen

Professor of Physical Chemistry - Group Leader - Speaker SFB 1214

TOP 100 CHEMISTS, 2000-2010

Research Interests

  • Polymer and Colloid Analysis
  • Analytical Ultracentrifugation - method and detector development
  • Nucleation
  • Non Classical Crystallization
  • Functional Polymer Additives
  • Biomineralisation

Education and studies:


Chemistry studies at the Gerhard Mercator University Duisburg
Pre-diploma (Bachelor): 12.2.1988
Diploma, physical chemistry 31.1.1991


Ph-D in Chemistry at Gerhard Mercator University Duisburg (Summa cum laude) „Analytical Ultracentrifugation of Gels“ with Prof. Dr. W. Borchard


Habilitation with Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. M. Antonietti in the Colloid Chemistry Dept. of the Max-Planck-Institute of Colloids and Interfaces: „Biomimetic mineralization using hydrophilic block copolymers: Synthesis of hybrid colloids with complex form and pathways towards their analysis in solution“


Venia Legendi in physical chemistry at Potsdam University

Professional Career:


 Research Assistant in the Applied Physical Chemistry Dept. in Duisburg


PostDoc at „National Center for Macromolecular Hydrodynamics“ University of Nottingham / Leicester. Research activities in characterization of complex biopolymers and their interactions and superstructures with Prof. Dr. S.E. Harding


Scientist in the Colloid Chemistry Dept. of the Max-Planck-Institute of Colloids and Interfaces 
Head of the ultracentrifuge laboratory 
Head of the projects:
Organic-inorganic hybrid colloids 
Fractionating methods of colloid analytics


Private docent at Potsdam University


Offer of chair of Physical Chemistry (W3) at the University of Konstanz and University Duisburg-Essen (declined), Offer of chair of Materials Chemistry (W3) at the University of Stuttgart (declined)


Full Professor Physical Chemistry, University Konstanz



Graduate scholarship of the Gerhard Mercator Universität-GH-Duisburg


“Hochschulabsolventenpreis” of the Gerhard Mercator Universität-GH-Duisburg for the best diploma thesis of the year


“Studienabschlußstipendium”; Fonds of the German Chemical Industry for a fast chemistry study


Scholarship of the Scientific & Engineering Research Council / England


“Dr. Hermann Schnell Award” of the Dr. Hermann Schnell foundation / German Chemical Society


Travel award of the “Macromolecular Chemistry Division” of the German Chemical Society


Steinhofer lecture, Freiburg


Listed in the Thomson Reuters list of top 100 chemists worldwide for the years 2000 – 2010


Academy Award of the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities

2014Visiting Professorship for Senior International Scientists of the Chinese Academy of Science
2014ECIS Solvay Award of the European Colloid and Interface Society
2014LUKS Teaching Award, University of Konstanz
2017CAS President's International Fellowship for Visiting Scientists (Chinese Academy of Science)

Honorary Professor, Qingdao University of Science and Technology

Commissions of Trust:

  • 2010 - 2014: International Advisory Board Member for Japan wide consortium Fusion Materials: Creative Development of Materials and Exploration of Their Function through Molecular Control, funded by Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology in Japan
  • 2010 - 2015: International Advisory Board Member for Programme Grant: “Hard-soft Interfaces: from understanding to engineering” funded by Scientific & Engineering Research Council (England)
  • Since 2012 Member of the Board of Trustees of the "Südwestmetall Förderpreis"
  • 2014 - 2018: International Advisory Board for the National Competence Center for Research (NCCR) on Bio-Inspired Materials funded by National Science Foundation, Switzerland

Editor of Scientific Journals

  • Since 2012: Co-editor Current Nanoscience (IF 1.31)
  • Since 2015: Editor in Chief Crystals (IF 2,14)

Editorial / Advisory Boards of Scientific Journals:

  • Macromolecular Bioscience (since 2008), Wiley
  • Crystals (since 2008), MDPI open access
  • Current Nanoscience (since 2010), Bentham Science
  • The Scientific World Journal (2012 - 2016), Hindawi open access
  • Journal of Crystallography (since 2012), Hindawi open access
  • Particle & Particle Systems Characterization (since 2012), Wiley
  • Inorganics (since 2013), MDPI open access
  • Nanomaterials (since 2013), MDPI open access
  • Crystal Engineering Communications (2013 - 2015), Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Bioinspired Materials (2013 - 2016), de Gruyter open access
  • Journal of Materials Chemistry B (since 2014), Royal Society of Chemistry

Guest professorships / Short Courses:


Fractionating particle analytics & colloid chemistry in the geochemistry course of the University Konstanz


Guest Professor: Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Lausanne (EPFL)


Short Course Series on „Rational approaches towards materials and polymers with nanoscale order and improved properties” Universidad de Chile, Santiago de Chile


14 h Short Course Series with examination on „New approaches towards materials with nanoscale order “ Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Lausanne (EPFL)

Since 2008

External Lecturer Ecole Doctorale, EPFL Lausanne


14 h Lecture & Examination „Rational approaches towards materials and polymers with nanoscale order and improved properties” at Ecole Doctorale, EPFL Lausanne


14 h Lecture & Examination „Rational approaches towards materials and polymers with nanoscale order and improved properties” at Ecole Doctorale, EPFL Lausanne


3 d course "Klassische und Nichtklassische Kristallisation" for the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker in Konstanz


3 d course "Klassische und Nichtklassische Kristallisation" for the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker in Konstanz


3 d course "Klassische und Nichtklassische Kristallisation" for the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker in Konstanz

3/20173 d course "Klassische und Nichtklassische Kristallisation" for the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker in Konstanz
3/20183 d course "Klassische und Nichtklassische Kristallisation" for the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker in Konstanz

Membership of Scientific Societies:

2000  Member of the German Chemical Society

2014  Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry

2015  Dechema ProcessNet Fachausschuss Grenzflächenbestimmte Systeme und Prozesse


Web of Science:

316 Publications at 11/2017, H-Index 68, > 19 900 total citations, 35 cover pages Invited book (ca. 300 pages) „Mesocrystals and Non Classical Crystallization“published by John Wiley & Sons 6/08. Co-Author: Markus Antonietti.

Cover Pages

Oral Presentations:

Until 2014: > 220 oral presentations, 190 invited talks, 16 plenary talks on intl. meetings, 8 keynote talks on international meetings, 5 invited main talks on Gordon Research Conferences

After 2014, yearly ca. 1 - 3 plenary / keynote talks, 10 - 15 invited talks

Lecture List

Current research interests:

Non Classical Crystallization 
Synthesis of organic-inorganic hybrid colloids with complex form. 
Synthesis of amphiphilic functional block copolymers. 
Fractionating methods of colloid and polymer analytics.

Further scientific activities:

Organisation of the „11th International Symposium on Analytical Ultracentrifugation“
25/26.3.1999 in Potsdam.

Editor Progress in Colloid & Polymer Science 113/ Progress in Analytical Ultracentrifugation 5 (1999), Co-editor Progress in Colloid & Polymer Science 131/ Progress in Analytical Ultracentrifugation 8 (2006)

Co-organizer of the workshop: “Investigation of Biomineralization employing model systems” within the Biomineralization priority program of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) 23 & 24.9.2003 in Braunschweig.

Co-organizer PMSE Symposium “Polymer directed Mineralization“ 233th ACS Spring Meeting Chicago 25.-29.3.2007 with F.C. Meldrum, S. Yang and N. Kröger

Symposium organizer EUROMAT 2007 Nürnberg “Powder processing - self-assembly and tailored nanostructures - towards applications” with Lennart Bergström, 10.-13.9.2007

Symposium organizer at EUROMAT 9/2009 Glasgow, UK with Lennart Bergström and Markus Niederberger

Co-organizer 125th Svedberg anniversary international symposium on Analytical Ultracentrifugation in Uppsala, Sweden 9/2009

Co-Editor with Nico Sommerdijk Lessons from Nature, MRS Bulletin, Vol. 35, February 2010 Materials Research Society

Scientific committee member Biomaterials for Composites at Lake Louise Conference 2009

Editor Special Issue “Analytical Ultracentrifugation” Macromol. Bioscience 7/2010

Co-Editor with Fiona Meldrum Crystallization and formation mechanisms of nanostructures, Nanoscale, 2, 2010 special issue

Symposium Chair “Biohybrids and Biomaterials Symposium” Hybrid Materials 2011 Conference in Strasbourg, France 6-10.3.2011

Scientific committee member Biomaterials for Composites at Lake Louise Conference 2011

Symposium Co-Chair “Biological Mineralization” Goldschmidt 2012 Conference, 24 – 29.6.2012 in Montreal, Canada

2013: Programme committee with Profs. Jolanta Prywer and Abel Moreno Carcamo for session Biological and Biogenic Crystallization, International Conference on Crystal Growth and Epitaxy, 11 - 16.8.2013 Warsaw Poland

Scientific committee member Biomaterials for Composites at Lake Louise Conference 2013

2014: Session co-organizer: "Nanocrystal Growth via Oriented Attachment and Mesocrystal Formation" with Lee Penn, Hengzhong Zhang and Caue Ribeiro, MRS spring meeting 2014, 21 - 25.4.2014 San Francisco, USA

2014: Co-organizer: 10th Zsigmondy Kolloquium with Alexander Wittemann, Sebastian Polarz, Stefan Mecking, Matthias Fuchs, 7 - 8.4.2014, Konstanz, Germany

2014: Session co-organizer: "Non Classical Nucleation and Crystallization" with Lennart Bergström and Markus Niederberger, EMRS spring meeting 2014, 26 - 30.5. in Lille, France

2014: Co-organizer: "International Workshop on Nucleation and Early Stages of Particle Formation" with Wolfgang Peukert and Dirk Zahn. 5 - 6.6. in Erlangen, Germany 

2015: Scientific committee member Biomaterials for Composites at Lake Louise Conference 2015

2015: Session co-organizer: "Equilibrium versus disequilibrium states in biologic hard tissues and biomimetic analogues" at Goldschmidt 2015 Conference in Prague with Erika Griesshaber, Wolfgang Schmahl and Andrew Putnis 

2015: Scientific committee member of ECIS 2015, 29th conference of the European Colloid and Interface Society, Bordeaux 6 - 11.9.2015 

2015: Scientific committee member of 13th International Conference on Biomineralization in Granada 16 - 19.9.2015 

2015: International program committee of the 22nd International Conference on Analytical Ultracentrifugation in Melbourne AUC 2015 

2017: Symposium chair at Fifth International Conference on Multifunctional, Hybrid and Nanomaterials; LIssabon 6 - 10.3.2017

2018: Program committee member “Euro Bio-inspired Materials” Potsdam 19 – 22.3.2018 

2018: Member of Scientific Committee of the sixth European Conference on Crystal Growth, 16 – 20.9.2018; Varna, Bulgaria

2018: Organizer International Symposium of the SFB 1214 “Anisotropic Particles: Tailoring Shape, Interactions and Structure” 25-28.9.2018 in Konstanz

2018: Co-Chair of 4th Global Congress and Expo on Materials Science and Nanoscience 15 – 17.10.2018 in Amsterdam, Netherlands

2019: Scientific Committee Partec 2019, 9-11.4. Nuremberg

2019: Co-Organizer of the 15 International Conference on Biomineralization in Munich 2019 with Peter Fratzl, Wolfgang Schmahl, Erika Griesshaber and Dan Jackson.

Referee for: 285 Journals

ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, ACS Applied Nano Materials, ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering, ACS Macro Letters, ACS Nano, ACS Combinatorial Science, ACS Omega, Acta Biomaterialia, Advanced Biomaterials, Advanced Materials, Advanced Materials Letter, Advanced Materials Interfaces, Advanced Materials Technologies, Advanced Functional Materials, Advanced Healthcare Materials, Advanced Optical Materials, Advanced Theory and Simulations, Advances in Colloid and Interface Science, Advances in Materials Research, Aerosol Science and Technology, American Mineralogist, Analyst, Analytical Chemistry, Angewandte Chemie, APL Materials, Applied Clay Science, Applied Physics A, Applied Physics Letters, Applied Surface Science, Arabian Journal of Chemistry, BBA Proteins and Proteomics, Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology, Biochemistry, Bioinformatics, Bioinspired Biomimetic and Nanobiomaterials, Biomacromolecules, Biomaterials, BioMed Research International, Biomimetics, Biophysical Journal, Biophysical Reviews, BMC Biophysics, Biopolymers, Carbohydrate Polymers, Carbohydrate Research, Case Reports in Dentistry, Catalysis Letters, Cellulose, Cement and Concrete Research, Ceramics International, Chem, Chemical Communications, Chemical Science, Chemistry – An Asian Journal, Chemistry - A European Journal, Chemistry of Materials, Chemistry Central Journal, ChemNanoMat, Chemistry Select, Chimia, Chromatography, Current Catalysis, Current Drug Discovery Technologies, Current Nanoscience, Current Organic Chemistry, Chemical Engineering Communications, Chemical Engineering Journal, Chemical Engineering Science, Chemical Engineering & Technology, Chemical Geology, Chemical Papers, ChemElectroChem, ChemNanoMat, ChemPhysChem., ChemPlusChem, Chemical Physics Letters, Chemical Reviews, Chemical Society Reviews, Chemical Science, Chemie Ingenieur Technik, Chimia, Chinese Journal of Chemistry, Chirality, Collection of the Czechoslovak Chemical Communications, Composites Part B, Comptes Rendus de’l Academie des Sciences – Chimie, Colloid and Polymer Science, Colloids and Surfaces A, Colloids and Surfaces B, Communications Chemistry (Nature), Coordination Chemistry Reviews, Crystals, Crystal Engineering Communications, Crystal Growth and Design, Crystal Research and Technology, Current Biology, Current Inorganic Chemistry, Current Nanomaterials, Dalton Transactions, Desalination and Water Treatment, Drug Delivery Letters, Electronic Journal of Biology, Electronic Journal of Biotechnology, Energy and Environmental Science, Environmental Research, Environmental Science and Pollution Research, Energy and Fuels, Environmental Science & Technology, e-Polymers, EP Letters, European Biophysics Journal, European Journal of Biochemistry, European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry, European Journal of Mineralogy, European Physical Society Letters, European Polymer Journal, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Express, FEBS Journal, Folia Microbiologica, Frontiers in Zoology, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Gondwana Research, Green Chemistry, Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, Holzforschung, Inorganic Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry Frontiers, Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, Journal of CO2 Utilization, International Journal of Materials Research, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, International Journal of Pharmaceutics, International Journal of Modern Physics B, International Materials Reviews, IUCrJ, Journal of Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Journal of Alloys and Compounds, Journal of the American Ceramic Society, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Journal of Applied Crystallography, Journal of Applied Physics, Journal of Archeological Science, Journal of Biobased Materials and Bioenergy, Journal of Biomaterials Science: Polymer Edition, Journal of Biomaterials and Nanobiotechnology, Journal of Biomedical Nanotechnology, Journal of Chemical and Engineering data, Journal of Chemistry, Journal of Chromatography A, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Journal of Crystal Growth, Journal of CO2 Utilization, Journal of Dentistry, Journal of Dispersion Science and Technology, Journal of Engineering and Manufacturing Technology, Journal of Fluorine Chemistry, Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry, Journal of Inorganic and Organometallic Polymers and Materials, Journal of Materials Science and Nanotechnology, Journal of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials, Journal of Nanomaterials, Journal of Nanoparticles, Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, Journal of Nanotechnology: Nanomedicine & Nanobiotechnology, Journal of Peptide Science, Journal of Stem Cell Research and Medicine, Journal of the Taiwan Institute of Chemical Engineers, Journal of Theoretical Biology, International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, Journal of visualized experiments, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Journal of Human Nutrition and Food Science, Journal of Materials Chemistry, Journal of Materials Chemistry B, Journal of Materials Science, Journal of Non Crystalline Solids, Journal of Materials Research, Journal of Petroleum Technology and Alternative Fuels, Journal of Petroleum and Gas Engineering, Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, Journal of Physics and Chemistry of Solids, Journal of Physical Chemistry, Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy and Radiative Transfer, Journal of Solid State Chemistry, Journal of Structural Biology, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology, Journal of Zhejiang University Science, JoVE, Korean Journal of Chemical Engineering, Langmuir, Macromolecules, Macromolecular Bioscience, Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics, Macromolecular Materials & Engineering, Macromolecular Rapid Communications, Materialia, Materials, Materials Characterization, Materials Chemistry and Physics, Materials Letters, Materials Research Bulletin, Materials Science & Engineering B & C, Materials and Design, Materials Horizons, Materials Today, Micron, Marine Drugs, Microporous and Mesoporous Materials, Microscopy and Microanalysis, Micro & Nanoletters, Mini Reviews in Organic Chemistry, Monatshefte für Chemie – Chemical Monthly, Nanoletters, Nanomaterials, Nanoscale, Nanoscale Horizons, Nano Research, Nanoscale Research Letters,  Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Asia, Nanotechnology, Nanotoxicology, Nano Today, National Science Review, Nature, Nature Chemistry, Nature Climate Change, Nature Communications, Nature Materials, Nature Nanotechnology, Nature Reviews Materials, New Journal of Chemistry, New Journal of Physics, NPG Asia Materials, Open Journal of Surgery, Particle and Particle Systems Characterization, PeerJ, Pharmaceutical Research, Physica B, Physica E, Physica Scripta, Physica Status Solidi, PLoS ONE, Polymer, Polymers, Polymer Bulletin, Polymer Chemistry, Polymer degradation and stability, Polymer Letters, Polymers for Advanced Technologies, Polymer International, Powder Technology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Progress in Colloid and Polymer Science, Progress in Polymer Science, Pure and Applied Chemistry, Reactive and Functional Polymers, Recent Patents on Engineering, Review of Scientific Instruments, RSC Advances, Royal Society Open Science, Science, Science Advances, Science of Advanced Materials, Scientific Journal of Biomedical Engineering & Biomedical Science, Scientific Reports (Nature), SciFed Journal of Separation Techniques, Scripta Materialia, Sedimentary Geology, Small, Smart Materials and Structures, Separation Science and Technology, Soft Matter, Solid State Sciences, Synlett, The Scientific Pages of Nanotechnology, Thin Solid Films, Ultramicroscopy, Zeitung für allgemeine und anorganische Chemie, Zeitschrift für Kristallographie, Zeitschrift für physikalische Chemie. 

Top 15 % Reviewer: Chemistry of Materials
Top 20 % Reviewer: Crystal Growth and Design, Langmuir

Institutions (36):

ACS Petroleum Research Fund, Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung, Canada Research Chairs, CEA-Enhanced Eurotalents, Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation, Czech ScienceFoundation, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, European Research Council (Starting and Advanced Grant Calls), EPSERC, ETH Zürich Research Commission, European Science Foundation, Foundation Ireland RFP2009 Materials Panel, French National Research Agency (ANR), Future Science Prize (China), German-Israeli Foundation (GIF), Israel Science Foundation (ISF), Leopoldina Akademie Deutscher Naturforscher, Leverhulme Thrust, Loire Valley Institute for Advanced Studies, Max-Planck-Society, Minerva Foundation, National Science Center Poland, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Science Center Poland, Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), Pazy Foundation Israel, Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO), Swedish Research Council, Schweizerischer Nationalfonds, Science Foundation Ireland, United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), US department of energy (DOE), US-Israel Binational Science foundation, Volkswagen Stiftung.

Private interests:

Music in a band, cooking, cycling