TU Berlin

Physical Chemistry / Molecular Material ScienceReasearch Field

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Central to the work in our group is the investigation of colloidal systems with an emphasis on the correlation between microscopic/mesoscopic structure and dynamics and their macroscopic properties. The aim is the understanding of the properties of the mesoscopically structured systems based on their molecular composition. The studied systems are typically composed of:

- surfactants

- amphiphilic copolymers, water-soluble polymers, polyelectrolytes

- biomacromolecules (proteins, DNA, lipopeptides, etc.)

- nanoparticles (organic, inorganic, clay, etc.)

- mesoporous silicates / titanates (obtained by surfactant aided template synthesis)

Interesting are in particular systems that respond to external stimuli, such as temperature, pH, ionic strength, light, mechanical stress and thereby adapt their properties (responsive systems). The functionality of colloidal systems then can be enhanced further by combining different colloidal components, that add their specific properties to the systems. Such hybrid systems then are interesting for applications from the fields of drug delivery, smart materials, sensing, catalysis, etc.. However, also general questions regarding structure and stability of colloidal systems or solubilisation in amphiphilic systems are studied intensely.

As experimental techniques we employ (see Resources for more detailed information):

- Static and Dynamic Light scattering (SLS, DLS)

- Neutron- and x-ray Small-Angle Scattering (SAXS, SANS)

- Stopped-flow Method (with Turbidity-, Conductivity-, Fluorescence- and DLS Detection)

- Confocal Microscopy and Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy (FCS)

- UV-vis, IR, NMR- and Fluorescence Spectroscopy

- Surface- and Interfacial Tension

- Rheology

- Calorimetry (DSC (Differential Scanning Calorimetry), ITC (Isothermal Titration Calorimetry)

- AFM and Electron Microscopy

A good overview of our research activities is also given in recently published review article: M. Gradzielski et. al.. Investigations in the Stranski-Laboratorium of the TU Berlin – Physical Chemistry of Colloidal Systems – Going Towards Complexity and Functionality. Tensid Surfactants Detergents 49, 256-265 (2012)

Some examples for these research activities are:

- the manipulation of the process of spontaneous vesicle formation via added copolymers and following this process with highly time-resolved SAXS/SANS measurements (ESRF Highlights 2012: www.esrf.eu/UsersAndScience/Publications/Highlights/2012/scm/scm2)


- rheological control of microemulsions by added cross-linking polymers (dx.doi.org/10.1021/la303673a | Langmuir 2012, 28, 15994−16006)


- microemulsions with magnetic ionic liquids (Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2012, 14, 15355-15360, DOI: 10.1039/C2CP43048G)


- nanoemulsions – stability and polymerisation (Soft Matter, 2011,7, 5697-5710, DOI: 10.1039/C0SM01556C)


- nanoparticls – synthesis and their interaction with membranes (Soft Matter, 2013, 9, 4167-4177; DOI: 10.1039/C3SM27875A)


- surfactant/polymer complexes (dx.doi.org/10.1021/la104588b | Langmuir 2011, 27, 4386–4396)


- particle formation on superhydrophobic surfaces



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