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Fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (FCS) is a sensitive and selective technique for studying the mobility of fluorescent species, such as small molecules, macromolecules or nanoparticles, in various environments. We develop and apply FCS based approaches to address specific questions in polymer, colloid and interface science. By monitoring the mobility of fluorescent tracers we obtain information about the surrounding environment, which may range from a hydrogel to a fluid/fluid interface. Alternatively, we use FCS to measure hydrodynamic radius, fluorescence brightness and local concentration of fluorescently labeled colloids and macromolecules (polymers, copolymers, proteins, DNAs) and thus investigate conformational changes, mutual interactions or aggregation. Such studies are particularly useful for a characterisation of drug nanocarriers. Other research topics include: thermo-mechanical properties of polymer materials, fabrication of giant unilamellar vesicles and visualization of nonlinear photonic crystals.