Current and future research activities focus on the design of novel nanoplasmonic devices (e.g. spaser) and are directed to the engineering of functionalized luminescent silicon quantum dots for optoelectronic applications, surface-stabilized noble-metal clusters and magnetoplasmonic nanohybrid structures for targeted gene therapies and X-ray enhancer for radiation cancer therapy. Our primary goal is to develop 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 elaborate novel synthesis routes for multitherapeutic magnetoplasmonic Janus nanoparticles that may act as synergistic nanoplatforms for complementary cancer therapies.
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 silicon clusters and superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles that act as X-ray enhancer for low-dose radiation therapy (BBRC 2012, BBRC 2013, J. Phys. Chem. B 2014).