Physical and Chemical Analysis of Polymers
The department of " Physical and Chemical Analysis of Polymers " is concerned with the investigation and targeted adjustment of the mechanical, chemical, electrical and optical properties of natural and synthetic polymer systems on the smallest scale. The aim of investigating and manipulating these microscopic properties is to obtain a fundamental understanding of their relationship to the macroscopic behaviour of the material. This is particularly important in order to adapt and optimise materials for a wide variety of applications.
Furthermore, hybrid methods are applied and further developed. These include combined atomic force spectroscopy and electron microscopy, broadband dielectric spectroscopy and specific heat spectroscopy, as well as coupled thermal analysis and decomposition gas analysis.
- Investigation of the relationship between micro and macro properties of organic and inorganic heterogeneous polymer materials by combining complementary analytical methods.
- Determination of mechanical properties of heterogeneous polymer materials on the nanoscale using AFM-based dynamic force spectroscopy.
- Analysis of the dynamic, thermodynamic and dielectric properties of complex multicomponent systems by broadband dielectric spectroscopy.
- Analysis of structure-property relationships using broadband dielectric spectroscopy, modern calorimetry and inelastic neutron scattering.
- Quantitative analysis of microplastics in complex matrices by thermal extraction/desorption GC/MS.
- Development of polymer based reference materials for the analysis of micro- and nanoplastics
- Development of DNA-based reference materials for quality assurance, calibration and biodosimetry.
- Development and optimisation of processes for three-dimensional printing of microstructures by means of two-photon polymerisation: mechanisms, stability, dimensional stability
- Particle scattering simulations (Geant4) to study material degradation through interaction of ionising radiation with matter
- Development of measurement methods on the nanoscale
Main areas of work
- Investigation of nanocomposites
- Quantitative analysis of microplastics
- Dynamics on the nanoscale (DYSEM) and force spectroscopy
- Development of new processes and materials for two-photon polymerisation for three-dimensional printing on the microscale
- Degradation studies of polymers due to various environmental influences
- Thermoanalytical characterisation of polymers and activated carbons
- Further development of TED-GC/MS for polymer analysis
- Development of synthetic polymer-based reference materials for environmental analysis
- Development of DNA-based reference materials for biodosimetry, quality control and pharamcy
- Investigation of the degradation of (bio-)polymers and their complexes by ionising radiation
- Development of methods for piezo-polymer hybrids for the calibration of photothermal methods
- Elucidation of the structural properties of polymer-based nanocomposites
- Properties of ultra-thin polymer films
- Monte-Carlo based particle scattering simulation for microdosimetry
- Soft matter in nanoscale confinements
- Structure-property relationships of high-performance polymers for membrane processes
Range of services/technical equipment
Imaging atomic force spectroscopy (AFM) to determine surface topographies on the nanoscale.
Dielectric broadband spectroscopy (BDS) allows the determination of the dielectric properties of a medium (dielectric constant) and the associated microscopic material parameters.
- Dielectric (10 µHz-1 GHz) and thermal spectroscopy (10-3 Hz- 105Hz) between - 150 °C and +400 °C
- Two-photon polymerisation enables three-dimensional printing of polymer- or ceramic-based materials on the sub-micrometre scale.
- Thermo-Extraction-Desorption-GC/MS (TED-GC/MS) allows the investigation of decomposition products (e.g. microplastics) for the detection of in a wide variety of environments.
- Force spectroscopy (intermodulation and force-distance curves) provides information about mechanical properties of surfaces and multilayer systems with nanometre resolution.
- Photothermal atomic force microscopy (AFM-IR) allows the measurement of vibration properties on surfaces with local resolution in the submicrometre range.
- Scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM and EDX) enable imaging of surfaces with nanometre resolution, visualisation of nanoparticles and microstructures, and element-sensitive mapping by X-ray dispersion.
- Analysis of vibrating microstructures (DySEM) to investigate the dynamic and mechanical properties of nanofibres and cantilevers.
- Confocal Raman spectroscopy for the investigation of vibrational modes and chemical properties with a spatial resolution in the micrometre range.
- Infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) for the determination of optically excitable vibration modes (ATR, transmission, DRIFT, IRRAS as well as NIR, MIR).
- Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA, Mettler Toledo) to determine mass losses
- Thermogravimetric analysis coupled with Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (TGA-FTIR) and coupled with a mass spectrometer (TGA-MS) for the detection of small molecules
- Particle size analyser (HELOS/BR+SUCELL+ASPIROS+CUVETTE, Sympatec) ( range: 0.1 - 875 µm, dry and wet dispersion)
- Electron spin resonance (EPR/ESR/FMR) enables the measurement of unpaired electrons in paramagnets and the analysis of the magnetic properties of ferromagnets.
- Micromagnetic simulations (OOMMF) to determine static and dynamic properties of magnetic materials.
- Particle scattering simulations (Geant4/TOPAS) for the determination of the microscopic energy deposition into matter by ionising radiation.
- Gel electrophoresis (CGE, AGE, PAGE) for the analysis of DNA (plasmids, oligonucleotides), proteins and DNA-protein complexes
- Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) allows the determination of specific heat capacities and critical temperatures at which phase transitions occur.
Heating rates: 0.1 K/min - 700 K/min, temperature modulated calorimetry, fast scanning calorimetry (10 K/s -104 K/s)
- Accelerated solvent extraction (ASE) for automated accelerated solvent extractions
- Spectroscopy in the visible and ultraviolet range (UV-VIS)
- Optical and fluorescence microscopy
Publications of the division