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  • Heterophase Polymerization Porous Polymers Chimera Polymers and Novel Synthetic Methods Modern Techniques of Colloid Analysis Hydrothermal Carbon Nanostructures and Coatings De Novo Nanoparticles International Joint Laboratory


  • Scientific ProfileThe size of the Department of Colloid Chem-istry is currently about 60 people, with inde-pendent researchers covering a wide rangeof research topics. The effective constitutingelement of the scientific activities is the

    project, structure headed by a senior scien-tist involving a mixture of technicians, graduate

    students and post-docs (3-8 people). Projects arerelated to scientists, but have a temporal character of usual-ly about 5 years. After this time, permanent scientists have toredefine their profile to justify the allocation of resources. Inthe case of non-permanent scientists, the projects usuallyleave the department with the promotion of the scientist, i.e.the group leaders can continue their specific research in theirnew academic environment (usually as professors) withoutcompetition of the former group.

    In the time of this report and after a further drain of 2group leaders in the period ahead, reconstruction of thedepartment went on and was most serious. Dr. HelmutClfen, left for Full professorship to the University of Kon-stanz, and the Emmy Noether group of Dr. Hans Brner nowturned into a Full Professorship at the HU Berlin. This wasfollowed by the leaving of a set of key Post-Docs towardspermanent international positions, which complemented thedrain. The just recently established groups of Dr. Maria Mag-dalena Titirici on Hydrothermal Carbon, Dr. Cristina Gior-dano (De Novo Nanoparticles), and Dr. Xinchen Wang(Artificial Photosynthesis) are now complemented byanother two fresh group leader, Dr. Jens Weber (PorousPolymers) and Dr. Jiayin Yuan (Polymeric Ionic Liquids, start-ing from 2011). This turnover is beyond typical and not easy,but reflects the dynamic character of the department.

    The profile of the department has therefore been seri-ously reoriented, keeping only some of the old strongholds.The following topics are treated by the department:

    Heterophase Polymerization Chimera Polymers and Novel Polymerization Techniques Modern Techniques of Colloid Analysis Materials for Energy applications Hydrothermal Carbon Nanostructures and Coating New inorganic nanostructures Artificial photosynthesis

    These projects within these project groups are briefly ex -plained below:

    Heterophase PolymerizationThe notation "Heterophase Polymerization" summarizes thetechniques of suspension-, emulsion-, mini-, and microemul-sion-polymerization as well as precipitation polymerization.The solvent is usually water, but heterophase polymerizationin inverse media is also examined. This class of techniques,although more than 90 years old, experiences a strong

    renaissance, since it allows the production of high polymercontaining formulations in water as an environment-friendlysolvent.

    Central points of interest of the team working on het-erophase polymerization are:

    We want to gain a better understanding of the nucleationperiod and particle formation for an optimal control of theparticle size and polydispersity. For this purpose, new exper-imental online multidetection techniques are developed; theexperimental investigations are supplemented by theoreti-cal and numerical descriptions (Dr. Klaus Tauer).

    We want to simplify the synthesis of complex polymer mor-phologies on a molecular level (synthesis of block & graftcopolymers by emulsion polymerization) and on a colloidallevel (core-shell latices, hollow spheres, foams) by a ratio-nal use of the particle interfaces in heterophase polymeriza-tion (Dr. Klaus Tauer).

    Chimera Polymers and Novel Polymerization TechniquesAmphiphilic polymers consist of components which dissolvein different media, e.g. a hydrophilic and a hydrophobic part.Since we are able to adjust both components sensitively tothe dispersion medium as well as to the dispersant, amphi -philic polymers allow the stabilization of unusual dispersionproblems. Recently, we learned that very special effects, notonly for biological interfaces, can be addressed when oneblock is a biopolymer, whereas the other mediates to thetechnical world (Chimera Polymers). Focal points of inter-est in this range are:

    The micelle formation and lyotropic liquid crystalline phasebehavior of chimera polymers is examined in dependence ofthe molecular structure, the relative amount of the differentcomponents, as well as the secondary interactions betweenthe structure forming bio-like blocks (Dr. Helmut Schlaad).

    The introduction of secondary interactions such as H-brid ges,dipole interactions or metal-ligand binding results in super-structures with more complex order and broken symmetry(Dr. Helmut Schlaad).

    . A new organization principle based on two immiscible, bothwater soluble blocks was identified. These double hydro -philic block copolymers enable the separation and self orga-nization of two aqueous entities (Dr. Helmut Schlaad, withMarkus Antonietti)

    The performance of molecular drugs or diagnostic particlescan be highly enhanced or optimized by coupling to a col-loidal system with synergistic action. Here, our specificknowledge on the synthesis and physical behavior of func-tional polymers and nanoparticles is used in cooperationwith pharmaceutical/medical partners to generate tailormade colloidal diagnostica (Dr. Cristina Giordano, togetherwith the Seeberger department).


    Research in the Department of Colloid Chemistry

    Markus Antonietti 06.02.19601983: Diploma, Chemistry(University of Mainz)Thesis: Bestimmung der Diffusion vonphotomarkiertem Polystyrol: spezielleSysteme, chemische und physikalisch-chemische Aspekte1985: Doctorate for natural science(summa cum laude, University of MainzThesis: Diffusion in topological constraint polymer melts with Prof. Dr. H. Sillescu1990: Habilitation, Physical Chemistry (University of Mainz) Thesis: Microgels Polymers with a special architecture02/1991: Associate Professor(University of Mainz)09/1991: Full Professor(Philipps University Marburg)Since 1993: Director(Max Planck Institute of Colloids andInterfaces, Golm),Full Professor (University of Potsdam)

  • Modern Techniques of Colloid AnalysisAll the work described above is necessarily accompanied bya considerable amount of colloid analysis which includes ful-ly commercial techniques, but also relies on the developmentof new techniques or methods of data handling. The develop-ments in this area include special techniques of transmissionand scanning electron microscopy on soft, structured matter(Dr. Jrgen Hartmann).

    Due to the promotion of some of the previous group lead-ers, headhunting of young scientists in area is requested tokeep the analytical strength also within the department. Thishowever is an ongoing operation.

    Materials for Energy ApplicationsThe Max Planck Society has established a new instrument toimprove the impact and visibility of basic science for society,so-called project clusters or project houses. The first of theseproject houses to come into existence was ENERCHEM, devot-ed to the materials chemistry to handle energy problems. Thisproject house was initiated by the Inorganic Chemistry Depart-ment of the Fritz Haber Institute and the Colloid ChemistryDepartment and is coordinated by Markus Antonietti.

    Hydrogen storage, better fuel cells, new energy cycles,new catalysts for more efficient processes, methane activa-tion, better batteries, ultracapacitors, remote energy storage,lightweight solar cells, all these topics are intimately con-nected with the control and design of materials nanostruc-ture. Activities based in Golm include:

    New C/N-polymers and carbon materials to expand theproperty profile of carbon, especially in electrocatalysis andfuel cell applicaitons (Dr. Jiayin Yuan, Markus Antonietti)

    Porous tectonic polymers as membranes for fuel cells andbattery separators and as novel gas storage materials (Dr. Jens Weber)

    Hydrothermal Carbon Nanostructures and ProcessesHydrothermal Carbonization is a 100 year old technique togenerate carbonaceous materials from biomass in a colloidalheterophase reaction processes. We reactivated this processto address questions of the sustainable/chemical synthe-sis of carbon nanostructures and the climate change.First experiments indicate that not only the non-oil based raw material base (sugar) is highlyattractive; it is also that a multiplicity of use-ful carbon nanostructures can be addresseswith great ease and high potential:

    HTC of raw biomass to generate soilconditioner (black soil) and its inter -action with the microbial biosystem(Markus Antonietti, Maria MagdalenaTitirici, together with the MPI of Biogeo-chemistry)

    Analysis of the elemental chemical steps of HTC and hybrid -i zation with technical monomers to generate new fillerstructures (Dr. Maria Magdalena Titirici)

    HTC reaction to coat nanoparticles and mesoporous scaf-folds for catalysis, battery applications and modern chro-matography (Dr. Maria Magdalena Titirici).

    De Novo NanoparticlesIn spite of the fact that nanoscience is a rather mature disci-pline, it is astonishing that the width of easily accessiblenanostructures is still rather small, i.e. most experiments aredone with a very restricted set of chemical systems, such asAu or CdS. Many materials which are relevant for novel ener-gy cycles and to catalyze more efficient chemical reactionssimply do not exist as appropriate nanostructures, or theirsynthesis is highly non-sustainable and non-practical. Be -cause of that, de novo nanosystems and nanosyntheseshave to be designed from scratch. Some cases of the projectportfolio are:

    . Metal carbide and nitride particles of


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