Polymer Interfaces

This group at the Physics Department of Technische Universität München is focusing on the development of polymer-based materials with new structure based functions. The general aim is to obtain a fundamental understanding of the structure-property relationship based on the morphology control on a molecular level. The interaction at interfaces is of special interest. Thus in most cases work is addressing thin films on solid supports.

Presently, the following topics are covered:

  • Micro- und nanostructured polymer films (resulting from phase separation, micro-phase separation, dewetting and artificial structuring via lithography based templating)
  • switchable polymers (based on hydrogels which react on an external stimulus such as temperature, pH, light or pressure)
  • polymer-metal interfaces (metal nanoparticles on polymer surfaces or inside polymer films causing special optical properties or conductivity, metal contact for devices)
  • semi-conducting and photoactive polymers for applications in photovoltaics (polymer blends and diblock copolymers, aging properties, controlled conductivity)
  • inorganic-organic hybrid materials with applications in photovoltaics (sol-gel prepared titania films, installation of different functionalities, filling with semi-conducting polymer)
  • flow-induced structures in thin films and at interfaces (flow induced phase separation, submicroliter droplets at surface, micro-fluidics)
  • magnetic nanoparticles embedded in polymer matrices (surface functionalized nanoparticles, controlled positioning by self-assembly inside diblock copolymer film, magnetic properties)
  • polymer based adhesives (pressure sensitive adhesives, controlled debonding, mechanical testing)
  • biopolymer nanostructures at interfaces (simple proteins, protein-protein versus protein-interface interaction, structural control)

The experimental techniques used in these investigations cover a wide variety. Primarily, real space imaging techniques (optical methods and scanning force microscopy) are combined with scattering techniques using synchrotron radiation and neutrons (reflectivity, wide and small angle scattering) and light scattering for the determination of structures. Property determinations are based on spectroscopic methods (UVvis, IR-, Brillouin- and Raman-spectroscopy) or mechanical testing (tack and peel test). Highly specialized techniques such as a photovoltaic testing equipment complement to experimental tools. The scattering experiments are widely performed at large scale facilities such as synchrotron radiation sources and neutron reactors.