Project B4

Smart Hybrid Membranes

Polymerhybrid membranes: directed and gated transport phenomena
Polymerhybrid membranes: directed and gated transport phenomena.

Jun. Prof. Dr. A. Brunsen

AK Brunsen

Ernst-Berl-Institut für Technische Chemie & Makromolekulare Chemie
TU Darmstadt – Fachbereich Chemie
L2|02 762b
Petersenstr. 22
64287 Darmstadt
Tel: +49 6151 16-75141

Our main focus is the investigation of directed and gated transport phenomena in smart mesoporous polymerhybrid membranes. Mesoporous inorganic oxide membranes with pore dimensions in the range of several nanometers are prepared by using sol-gel chemistry. This technique allows the independent tuning of pores from subsequent functionalization in terms of framework nature, composition, crystalline structure, effective surface area, pore dimension, shape, accessibility, and pore array symmetry, as well as interconnection. The mesoporous membrane structures are further functionalized by macromolecules that can be externally switched from an “off” into an “on” state in a dynamic and reversible manner. Stimuli of interest are light, electric or magnetic fields, and temperature, for example. Such macromolecules can serve as gates allowing to “open” and “close” pores to regulate transport. Besides gating, direction of transport is a key topic of our research. Directed or so called “active” transport is a common phenomenon in nature as for example observed in sodium/potassium pumps. To direct transport a located force or better a force gradient in a certain direction has to be generated. This motivates our interest in functional gradient generation and characterization on the nanometer- to micrometer scale. In terms of characterization we are especially interested in surface plasmon resonance (SPR) and leaky optical waveguide mode spectroscopy (OWS) for gradient detection. Such specifically designed membranes can potentially be applied in smart catalytic systems, separation, sensors, drug delivery, or batteries, for example.

Key topics:

  • polymerhybrid membranes
  • switchable, functional, mesoporous polymerhybrid films
  • surface modification and characterization especially under nanoconfinement
  • functional gradients at nanometer- to micrometer scale
  • surface plasmon- and optical waveguide mode spectroscopy for gradient sensing