Current and future research activities focus on the design of novel nanoplasmonic devices and plexcitonic nanostructures for optoelectronic applications and multifunctional magnetoplasmonic noble metal-ironoxide nanoheterodimers for multimodal cancer therapies combining X-ray radiation therapy, chemotherapy and inhibition therapy. Our primary goal is to establish novel wet-chemistry recipes for the efficient production of versatile smart nanostructures with adjustable sizes and defined surface structures suited for the diverse specific applications. Actually we develop novel co-culture multicellular tumor spheroids as high-throughput screening platforms for the validation of multimodal nanotherapeutics.
One research highlight was the successful realization of molecular optical switches built on dithienylethene which reversibly operate on the picosecond scale by switching between a transparent and coloured state as well as allow switching on and off the emission of an attached fluorophore (J. Phys. Chem. 2001).
In cooperation with Evonik Industries AG we developed a two-step procedure enabling for the first time the fabrication of surface stabilized, oxide-free luminescent silicon quantum dots (EP 2 067743 A1) which were shown to function as transfection reagent for siRNA (BBRC 2009) that initiated RNAi mediated specific gene suppression.
In an actual cooperative research project with institutes of the medical school of Erlangen we engineered surface-modified superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles which act as X-ray enhancing agents for low-dose radiation therapy (BBRC 2012, J. Phys. Chem. B 2014). Recently, we introduced bifunctional Au-Fe3O4 nanoheterodimers as efficient nanoagents for multimodal cancer therapies (ACS Appl. Mater (2018, 2019, ACS App. Bio. Mater.)