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Research Projects

Preparation of surfaces with tailor-made properties

polymer brush

Schematic representation of a polymer brush.

Our general research interests focus on the development of new methods for the precise control of the surface properties of materials by deposition of thin and ultrathin polymer films (i.e. film thickness of the order of molecular dimensions). In order to provide a good long-term stability of these interfacial architectures it is frequently desirable to chemically link the polymer molecules that form the layer to the underlying substrate.

Several novel strategies in that direction were developed to accommodate specific issues connected to the tailoring of surface properties. In many cases the immobilized molecules carry further groups which can be subsequently modified to provide desired surface functionalities.

Example projects:

 

Topological and chemical microstructuring of surfaces

polymer brush

Microactors based on magnetically filled polymer flaps

Two- and threedimensional pattern of surface-attached polymer monolayers and networks are achieved by using photolithographic processes, micro-contact printing and two photon lithograpic techniques. By use of hybrid materials and through the combination with sacrificial layers it is also possible to generate microactuators on the surfaces.

 

Functional surface coatings for life science applications

140415-biofuelcell-electrode.pngMany of the above mentioned strategies are especially useful for applications in the life sciences. One of the most important questions for such systems regards the interaction of the polymers with biological species. Protein adsorption characteristics as well as the influence of small biological molecules (e.g. lipids) need to be considered to understand the relevant parameters that determine cell adhesion properties, bio-fouling behavior or the efficiency of a certain biochip format.

 

Example projects:

 

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Characterization of materials with surface analytical methodes

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Our surface analytical facilities include Surface Plasmon and Optical Waveguide Spectrometers and Microscopes, Video Imaging Systems, Ellipsometers, X-ray Reflectometry, FTIR, and an Atomic Force Microscope. A detailed description of our scientific instrumentation can be found here.

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