Research groups from four faculties (Pharmacy and Chemistry; Mathematics, Informatics and Physics; Geo- and Atmospheric Sciences; Technical Sciences) cooperate within this research focus in order to fully exploit the synergies between physics, chemistry, earth sciences, pharmaceutical technology, and civil engineering. Synergies and strength areas are found in the fields of clusters, polymorphism/phase transitions, catalysis-reactivity, high-pressure research and materials engineering. A particular strength of the research focus lies in high-pressure, high-temperature synthesis and characterization of materials, which results e.g. in hitherto inaccessible coordination geometries in solid state compounds. Thereby, fabrication of novel materials with tailored optical, electronic and mechanical properties becomes possible. Furthermore, elaborate technologies allow us to mimic conditions which are found deep in the earth mantle, thus permitting unprecedented insights into geomechanical and geochemical processes. Strong activities are focused on clusters in the gas phase and on surfaces. Basic questions ranging from the “magic” stability of clusters to the electronic structure and the possibility of tailor-making catalyst for chemical reactions are explored. Another important focus of the platform is the study of phase diagrams, phase transitions and of metastable materials, both in the bulk and in low-dimensional materials are investigated, including ferrolectric or superconductive materials. New concepts of phase transitions in amorphous systems, particularly water and ice, have resulted in the discovery of new phases and in new concepts such as cryocatalysis. The expertise in phase transitions, polymorphism and watersolid interactions is finally being exploited to obtain better control of drug formulation and performance.