Scientific Instrumentation

Laboratories for wet chemistry

  • Laboratories for the synthesis of polymers and low molecular weight compounds like monomers, initiators, photoreactive substances and molecules for self-assembled monolayers
  • Hoods, inert gas lines
  • High pressure mercury UV lamp (500 W, L.O.T. Oriel)
  • UV illumination system (Stratalinker, Stratagene)
  • Sorvall Super T21 centrifuge with fixed angle rotor (max. 18500 rpm, 41.000 x g)

Cell and Biointerfaces Laboratory

  • Laboratory for cell culturing and microbiological work for the investigation material-cell interactions
  • CO2-Incubator, Class II Biosafety work bench

Special Instruments for the preparation of thin layers of chemisorbed or physisorbed polymers

  • Spin-Coater (B.L.E. Delta 10)
  • Dip-Coater (self-made)
  • Various Microarray-Printers for the preparation of DNA chips and protein chips
  • Langmuir-Blodgett trough (KSV minitrough)
  • Self-made plasma polymerization setup

Instruments for the physical and physico-chemical analysis of organic compounds, polymers and thin coatings

Determination of the chemical structure/composition of organic compounds (low and high MW) and surfaces

  • X-Ray Photoelectron Spectrometer (XPS, Physical Electronics 5600 ci)
    Evaluation of the chemical composition of surfaces. The instrument is equipped with a dual Mg Ka and Al Ka x-ray sources, a monochromated Al Ka source, Ar sputtering unit, neutralizer and an imaging system. Spot sizes down to 30 mm are available.
  • Fourier transform infrared spectrometer (FTIR, Bio-rad Exalibur)
    Measurement of transmission spectra for the characterization of organic and polymeric compounds and coatings. Additional equipment for the characterization of ultrathin layers (IR in diffuse reflection, DRIFT; gracing incidence FTIR, GIR)
  • NMR Spectroscopy (Bruker Avance, 250MHz)
    Structural characterization of organic molecules and polymers. 1H- and 13C-spectra of solutions can be recorded.
  • UV Spectroscopy (Cary50 Bio, Varian)
    Characterization of UV active compounds, Investigation of photochemical processes.

Molecular Weight Determination

  • Gel permeation chromatography (GPC, Fa. PSS and Agilent)
    Determination of the average molecular weight and molecular weight distribution of polymers. Two setups for organic and aqueous solvents equipped with different columns.
  • Light scattering equipment (static & dynamic; ALV Laservertriebs GmbH)
    Determination of the weight averaged molecular weight and the radius of gyration of polymers. Dynamic behavior of polymers in solution. Determination of the size of (nano) particles.

Microscopy / Imaging

  • Atomic Force Microscope (AFM, Nanoscope III, Digital Instruments)
    Instrument for the determination of the topology of surfaces with high resolution (down to atomic length scales). In addition to the pure topology, other surface properties might also be used to generate images, e.g. the surface viscosity. Characterization of surfaces through force-distance-measurements.
  • Inverted optical Microscope (Nikon TS100F)
    Instrument for imaging surfaces (microstructures, cells etc.). Objectives from 40x down to 2x are available.
  • Video inspection system (EHD vista)
    Instrument for the depiction of small surface structures (resolution better than 10 µm) or larger samples (up to 5 x 5 cm2). Equipped with a color CCD camera and a computer with a frame-grabber and image analysis software.
  • Imaging Ellipsometry (EP3 SE, Nanofilm Technology)
    Investigation of microstructered surfaces. Equipped with software for D-, Y- and thickness-mapping of microstructures. View field up to about 2x2 mm2. Provides nm resolution in height.
  • FTIR microscope (Varian UMA600)
    This microscope can be used to obtain FTIR data from small spots (down to about 20 µm) on transmissive or reflecting surfaces.

Film Thickness

  • Surface plasmon and optical waveguide spectroscopy (Res-Tec GmbH, two instruments)
    Determination of the film thickness of thin dielectric layers with thicknesses between 1 nm and 5 µm at a theoretic resolution of ±0.1 nm. In situ measurement of the adsorption of molecules at surfaces (detection limit 10-2 nm). Characterization of dry layers and layers in contact with a solvent.
  • Ellipsometer (DREX-2, Dr. Riss Ellipsometerbau)
    Simple instrument for the fast determination of the thickness of thin layers between 1 nm and several micrometer (theoretic precision 0.3 nm).
  • X-ray reflectometer (Siemens/Bruker D5000)
    Model-free determination of the geometric thickness of thin layers (range: 2 – 200 nm). Determination of the roughness of surfaces and interfaces.


  • Video-based instrument for measuring contact angles (Dataphysics OCA20)
    Instrument for the characterization of the wetting behavior of surfaces against test fluids (contact angle measurements). Determination of surface energies via different methods.
  • Mechanical Testing (Z2.5, Fa. Zwick GmbH & Co)
    Determination of the mechanical properties of polymers and of the adhesion of surface coatings


We have also access to further scientific equipment for the analysis of surfaces and interfaces through the Surface and Interface Analysis Service Group at the Freiburger Materialforschungszentrum, FMF (Freiburg Materials Research Center).

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