A recurrent theme within all research activities of this group is the self-assembly of macromolecules under different conditions and in different environments.
We are investigating polymeric systems capable of transporting and releasing a certain "payload". Such Nanocontainers or "Nano-Carriers" typically are in the size range of 10-100 nm and are used to enhance the solubility of active drugs in unfavourable environments and / or to protect labile substances from unwanted degradation before reaching the target area. An important aspect here is the identification, design and synthesis of potentially biocompatible polymeric materials.
Rather general, this area focuses on the synthesis, characterization, and self-assembly of block co- and terpolymer systems. We are interested in the combination of different polymerization methods, sophisticated polymer architectures, and unusual bulk or thin-film morphologies.
This area concentrates on block copolymer based particles in the submicron range. Particular interest is devoted to structures which are more "complex" than classical core-corona micelles. Examples are multilayered architectures, patchy or multicompartment micelles, or non-equilibrium systems. Preparation pathways can be solution-state self-assembly, bulk-templating, or a stepwise build-up via interpolyelectrolyte complex (IPEC) formation between oppositely charged polymeric systems.
Hierarchical structures exhibit order on several length scales. We aim at the step-wise build-up of such "structure within structure" materials in solution via suitable macromolecular building blocks.
Polymer-based membranes are already widely used and therefore represent an industrially relevant area. Our main interest is to transfer certain key features of stimuli-responsive polymeric materials to suitable systems like thin-film composite or phase inversion membranes. Targeted stimuli are pH-, salt-, or temperature-sensitivity but also tunable mechanical properties via, e.g., selectively crosslinkable systems are anticipated.