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Dr. Bizan N. Balzer

Senior Scientist / Akademischer Rat / Habilitand

Institute of Physical Chemistry
Albertstraße 21
79104 Freiburg


Phone: +49 761 203-6227
Room: 01.013 Flachbau




About me

Since: 12/2019: Responsible Investigator, Cluster of Excellence livMatS, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

Since: 07/2019: Habilitation at the Institute of Physical Chemistry, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg (Prof. Dr. Thorsten Hugel)

Since: 01/2017: Senior Scientist and Head of the AFM Department at the Institute of Physical Chemistry, Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg (Prof. Dr. Thorsten Hugel)

05/2016-12/2016: Postdoc at the Institute of Physical Chemistry, Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg (Prof. Dr. Thorsten Hugel)

01/2014-10/2015: Technical Expert at Ter Meer Steinmeister & Partner Patent Attorneys mbB and Kilian, Kilian & Partner Patent Attorneys mbB

12/2013: Dr. rer. nat. (summa cum laude), title of thesis: Single polymer friction - from desorption stick to geometrical interlock (Prof. Dr. Thorsten Hugel)

04/2009-12/2013: Scientific Assistant (Prof. Dr. Thorsten Hugel) at Physik Department (TU München), Institute for Medical Engineering (IMETUM), Cluster of Excellence Nanosystems Initiative Munich (NIM) and PEGASUS project of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) under the leadership of BMW AG

11/2008: Diploma in Physics and Biophysics, TU München

10/2003-11/2008: Physics and Biophysics, Physik Department, TU München


Areas of research

  • Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM): imaging, friction, KPFM, force spectroscopy
  • Single Molecule Force Spectroscopy: adhesion and friction mechanisms between single polymers and solid substrates or thin polymer films in solution
  • Functionalization of solid surfaces and AFM probes
  • Tribology: friction properties of single molecules, polymer films and biomolecules




M. Tschaikowsky, M. Selig, S. Brander, B.N. Balzer, T. Hugel & B. Rolauffs
Proof-of-concept for the detection of early osteoarthritis pathology by clinically applicable endomicroscopy and quantitative AI-supported optical biopsy
Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, S1063-4584, 20, 31167-5 (2020);

H. Wang, M. Lallemang, B. Hermann, C. Wallin, R. Loch, A. Blanc, B.N. Balzer, T. Hugel & J. Luo
ATP impedes the inhibitory effect of Hsp90 on Aβ40 fibrillation
J. Mol. Biol., S0022-2836, 20, 30635-5 (2020);

A. Kolberg, C. Wenzel, T. Hugel, M. Gallei & B.N. Balzer
Covalent Attachment of Single Molecules for AFM-based Force Spectroscopy
J. Vis. Exp., 157, e60934 (2020).


M. Marczynski, B.N. Balzer, K. Jiang, T. M. Lutz, T. Crouzier & O. Lieleg
Charged Glycan Residues Critically Contribute to the Adsorption and Lubricity of Mucins

Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces, 187, 110614 (2020).


M. Tschaikowsky, S. Brander, B.N. Balzer, B. Rolauffs & T. Hugel
Proof-of-concept for the detection of early osteoarthritis pathology by endomicroscopy
bioRxiv, 734368 (2019).

A. Kolberg, C.Wenzel, K. Hackenstrass, R. Schwarzl, C. Rüttiger, T. Hugel, M. Gallei, R.R. Netz & B.N. Balzer
Opposing temperature dependence of the stretching response of single PEG and PNiPAM polymers
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 141 (29), 11603 (2019).

H. Schafer, A. Kolberg, M. Gockeln, R. Kun, B.N. Balzer & K. Koschek
Influence of free PCL in PCL/PBA-a copolymers and blends on morphology, thermo-mechanical and shape memory properties
Polymer Testing, 77, 105888 (2019).


B. Winkeljann, K. Boettcher, B.N. Balzer & O. Lieleg
Mucin Coatings Prevent Tissue Damage at the Cornea–Contact Lens Interface
Adv. Mater. Interfaces, 4 (19), 1700186 (2017).


B.N. Balzer & T. Hugel
Single-Molecule Detection and Manipulation. In: Saleem Hashmi (editor-in-chief)
Reference Module in Materials Science and Materials Engineering. Oxford: Elsevier  pp. 1-19 (2016).


B.N. Balzer, S. Kienle, M. Gallei, R. v. Klitzing, M. Rehahn & T. Hugel
Stick-Slip Mechanisms at the Nanoscale
Soft Materials, 12 (1), 106 (2014).

S. Kienle, M. Gallei, H. Yu, B. Zhang, S. Krysiak, B.N. Balzer, M. Rehahn, A.D. Schlüter & T. Hugel
Effect of Molecular Architecture on Single Polymer Adhesion
Langmuir, 30 (15), 4351 (2014).

J. Elbert, F. Krohm, C. Rüttiger, S. Kienle, H. Didzoleit, B.N. Balzer, T. Hugel, B. Stühn, M. Gallei & A. Brunsen
Polymer-Modified Mesoporous Silica Thin Films for Redox-Mediated Selective Membrane Gating
Adv. Funct. Mater., 24 (11), 1591 (2014).


B.N. Balzer, M. Gallei, K. Sondergeld, M. Schindler, P. Müller-Buschbaum, M. Rehahn & T. Hugel

Cohesion Mechanisms of Polystyrene-Based Thin Polymer Films
Macromolecules, 46 (18), 7406 (2013).

B.N. Balzer, S. Micciulla, S. Dodoo, M. Zerball, M. Gallei, M Rehahn, R. v. Klitzing & T. Hugel
Adhesion Property Profiles of Supported Thin Polymer Films
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 5 (13), 6300 (2013).

B.N. Balzer, M. Gallei, M. Hauf, M. Stallhofer, L. Wiegleb, A. Holleitner, M. Rehahn & T. Hugel
Nanoscale Friction Mechanisms at Solid–Liquid Interfaces
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 52 (25), 6541 (2013).

B.N. Balzer, M. Gallei, M. Hauf, M. Stallhofer, L. Wiegleb, A. Holleitner, M. Rehahn & T. Hugel
Reibungsmechanismen auf der Nanoskala an Fest‐flüssig‐Grenzflächen
Angew. Chem., 2013, 125, 6670 (2013).

S. Dodoo, B.N. Balzer, T. Hugel, A. Laschewsky & R. v. Klitzing
Effect of ionic strength and layer number on swelling of polyelectrolyte multilayers in water vapour
Soft Materials, 11(2), 157 (2013).

B.N. Balzer & M. Gallei
Das reibt sich gut: Rasterkraftmikroskopie am Einzelmolekül
GIT Labor-Fachzeitschrift, 57, 710 (2013).


N. Schwierz, D. Horinek, S. Liese, T. Pirzer, B.N. Balzer, T. Hugel & R.R. Netz
On the relationship between peptide adsorption resistance and surface contact angle: A combined experimental and simulation single-molecule study
J. Am. Chem. Soc., 134 (48), 19628 (2012).

B.N. Balzer & T. Hugel
Surface & Interface Characterization: Single Molecule Detection & Manipulation
Polymer Science: A Comprehensive Reference; Elsevier: Amsterdam; pp. 629-645 (2012)


M. Geisler, B.N. Balzer & T. Hugel
Polymer Adhesion at the Solid–Liquid Interface Probed by a Single–Molecule Force Sensor
Small, 5 (24), 2864 (2009).



Atomic Force Microscopy: from single molecules to soft materials, 2nd Japanese-American-German Symposium, Kyoto, Japan, 2019



JoVE Video: Covalent Attachment of Single Molecules for AFM-based Force Spectroscopy

Making-of JoVE video



Practical Courses:

Grundpraktikum Physikalische Chemie

HISinOne: Grundpraktikum Physikalische Chemie für Bachelor Chemie (BSc-PCG und Polyvalenter Bachelor Chemie)

HISinOne: Grundpraktikum Physikalische Chemie für Regio Chimica (RC-PCG)



Single molecule methods
Contents: basics of optical microscopy, fluorescence spectroscopy, superresolution spectroscopy (STED, PALM), fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS), Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET), single molecule kinetics, optical tweezers, magnetic tweezers, atomic force microscopy, force spectroscopy

HISinOne: Single molecule methods

Projects / Job opportunities

B.Sc., M.Sc. or Ph.D. thesis

Please contcact me: