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Research focus
The Supraparticle Group

Logo: The Supraparticle Group

We assemble complex particles, so-called supraparticles, from nano building blocks.­­­
We study how the supraparticle’s structure and complex composition determines unique functionalities. With these supraparticles, we aim at creating smart materials in the field of sustainability.

Research areas:

 

Research Focus the Supraparticle Group

Our focus in detail:

Icon: Nanoparticles with designed properties

Nanoparticles possess characteristic and unique physical / functional properties. Their size, shape and composition determines the ultimate properties. Chemical synthesis control enables tailoring these physical properties.­­ We synthesize and surface functionalize inorganic nanoparticles, in particularly metal oxide nanoparticles, by means of bottom-up wet chemistry and subsequently use these as building blocks to assemble functional supraparticles.­ A main interest is on magnetic, luminescent and adsorber nano building blocks.

 

Selected publications:

Icon general Supraparticle Research

We start from synthesizing inorganic nanoparticle building blocks by means of wet chemistry. Via control over the wet chemical synthesis parameters, the size, shape and composition of the nanoparticles, thus their physical properties (e.g. optical or magnetic or adsorber or catalytic properties), can be tailored. From collaboration partners, we obtain further inorganic or organic nano or molecular building blocks.

By means of spray-drying and other methods, we assemble the different building blocks to more complex entities, so-called supraparticles. We study how the assembly process can be influenced to tailor the supraparticles`s composition and structure as this determines the ultimate functional properties of the supraparticle systems.

 

Selected publications:

Icon communicating particles

One major focus of our current research is on creating supraparticles which carry a unique ID, i.e., which possess a fingerprint.
Installing an ID in one single particle is achieved by assembling supraparticles from nano building blocks with well-defined physical properties in specifically defined ratios. We do this either with optical or magnetic systems. Our ultimate goal is to create a “communicating particle” which is an aid in recycling and resources recovery processes, i.e., such particles shall become a tool to support a sustainable circular economy.

 

Selected publications:

Icon: Adsorber for purification and sensing

We aim at designing supraparticles which can be added to fluids and interact specifically with target ions or molecules in these fluids. The ultimate goal is either an adsorption of the target substance onto the particle`s surface, or an interaction of the target substance with the building blocks of the supraparticles. As a result, as the particles typically also possess magnetic properties, target substances can either be removed and recovered from the fluid with the help of the supraparticles, or the supraparticles act as detectors and indicate the presence and concentration of the target substance.

 

Selected publications:

Supraparticles are considered as key to equip surfaces with interactive functionalities. We aim at creating surfaces that can optically indicate external influences (for example create surfaces that change color upon encounter of a target gas) or whose surface properties can be switched (for example create a surface which can change its color upon a magnetic switching event).

 

Selected publications:

Yet to comeIcon: Photo-electro-catalysis