Team Leader Crystallization

apl. Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Heike Lorenz
apl. Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Heike Lorenz
Phone: +49 391 6110 293
Room: N2.11

PostDocs / Project Leaders

Dr.-Ing. Erik Temmel
Phone: +49 391 6110 281
Room: N2.13


M.Sc. Francesca Cascella
M.Sc. Francesca Cascella
Phone: +49 391 6110 288
Room: N2.15
M.Med. Tao Li
M.Med. Tao Li
Phone: +49 3916110 283
Room: N2.16
M.Sc. Stephan Münzberg
M.Sc. Stephan Münzberg
Phone: +49 391 6110 438
Room: S1.14
M.Sc. Mareike Henniges
Phone: +49 391 6110 289
Room: N2.02
M.Sc. Shashank Bhandari
M.Sc. Shashank Bhandari
Phone: +49 391 6110 425
Room: S1.13
M.Sc. Thiane Carneiro
M.Sc. Thiane Carneiro
Phone: +49 391 6110 282
Room: S1.09
M.Sc. Jonathan Gaensch
Phone: +49 391 6110 280
Room: N2.13


St. Petersburg State University (Prof. E. Kotelnikova)

Institute of Organic and Physical Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, Kazan (Prof. A. Bredikhin, A. E. Arbuzov)

University College London (Prof. S. Price)   

University of Rostock (Prof. S. Verevkin)

University of Rouen (Prof. G. Coquerel)

Bayer CropScience AG (Prof. E. R. Gesing)

Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg (Prof. D. Thévenin and Dr. L. Hilfert)

TU Hanoi (Prof. N.M. Tan)

Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes CB (Dr. M. Leschinsky)

Partners in the UNRAVEL European Research Project (

MPI for Colloids and Interfaces (Prof. P. Seeberger, Dr. K. Gilmore)

MPI (PSE (Prof. K. Sundmacher), PSD (Prof. A. Kienle), MSD (Dr. M. Stein))

Selective Crystallization

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Selective Crystallization

Crystallization processes play a role in many industries, and are applied for manufacture of commodities (e.g. inorganic salts) and fine chemicals, as pharmaceuticals, food and agrochemicals. The two general objectives of crystallization processes are, first, separation and purification of substances, and, second, production of particles of desired properties, as for example a definite particle size distribution. Often both objectives are combined and the crystallization step within the industrial (synthesis – separation –formulation) process chain has to fulfill several tasks simultaneously.

On that basis the goal of the projects in the crystallization team are directed to deeper understand, design and optimize crystallization-based processes aiming to isolate pure target compounds from mixtures while keeping control of the particulate properties of the  compounds as well. Those mixtures might be composed of only two very similar components, as enantiomers in a racemic mixture, or contain a multitude of constituents, as it is the case in plant extracts or synthesis mixtures (Figure 1).

Figure 1: General separation problems studied in the group Zoom Image

Figure 1: General separation problems studied in the group

To address such separation tasks the underlying phase equilibria (solid-liquid as well as solid-solid and liquid-liquid equilibria (SLE, SSE, LLE)) and crystallization kinetics need to be determined. Based on this key information, separation processes are derived and their applicability and performance verified. In the work we focus on developing novel and advanced variants of separation processes that facilitate to produce pure compounds at desired target properties as well as process characteristics (yield, productivity). During the last couple of years beside batch process concepts continuous process concepts were studied to a greater extent. Model and industrially-relevant example systems investigated ranged from enantiomers, over synthesis-mixtures to the isolation of plant-based pharmaceutical compounds from extracts and particulate lignin from wood-based black liquors.

Various batchwise and continuously operated crystallization facilities from a couple of mL’s up to 20 L reactor volume are applied. The reactors can be equipped with various in- and online measurement techniques to follow separation progress and particle evolution by analyzing temperature, solution concentration (supersaturation), enantiomeric excess, particle size etc. Reactor operation and data acquisition are supported using a process control system.

Selected topics will be described in more detail in the following:

  • Thermodynamics and crystallization kinetics
  • Process variants
  • Natural products.

These tasks are handled interdisciplinary in different research groups of the Max Planck Institute and in cooperation with companies and universities.

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