Research in the Zentel Group

Our group develops new polymers with physical properties like ferroelectricity or special optical properties based on a strong background in synthetic polymer science. The desired macroscopic physical properties are obtained by a combination of different molecular structures in one polymer, which contribute the necessary molecular properties (e.g. dipole moments or polarizability). The synthesized polymers form ordered structures by self-orientation, or are structured by photopatterning and soft-lithography.

At the growing interest in life-science we also design the molecular structures of polymers with selected bioactive and biocompatible moieties. With such novel polymer architectures medical applications can be achieved, e.g. cancer targeting, vaccines or blood-brain-barrier drug-transport.

Research Topics

Experimental Methods

Besides the classical methods of synthetic chemistry, the following experimental methods are established:

  • General Spectroscopy
    • UV-VIS Spectrometer for solutions (including setup for temperature-dependent measurements)
    • UV-VIS Spectrometer for films (including setup for reflectance and temperature-dependent measurements)
    • FT-IR Spectrometer (including setup for crazing incidence)
  • Spectroscopy of Chiral Compounds
    • ORD-Spectrometer
  • Polymer Characterization
    • Gel Permeation Chromatography GPC (molecular weights), solvent: HFIP
    • GPC with light scattering detector (molecular weights), solvent: THF
    • Zetasizer (particle size, molecular weight, zeta potential) (Malvern Nano)
    • Ubbelohde capillary viscometer (molecular weights)
    • Differential Scanning Calorimetry DSC (Perkin Elmer, DSC 8500) for thermal characterization
    • Dielectric relaxation (101 to 106 Hz) (mobility of dipolar groups in polymers)
    • Thermal Gravimetry Analysis (Perkin Elmer, TGA Pyris 6) for thermal characterization
    • Mechanical analyzer, rotational rheometer
  • Characterization of (Ferroelectric) Liquid Crystals
    • Several microscopes, equipped for measurements above and below room temperature
    • Setup for the determination of switching times and polarization
  • Characterization of Thin Layers and Amphiphiles
    • LB-trough, characterization of monomolecular films
    • Surface plasmon spectroscopy (determination of thickness of thin layers)
    • Contact angle measurements
    • Quartz microbalance
    • Fluorescence Microscope
  • Processing of Polymers
    • Spin coater
    • Photocrosslinking, photomodification (500W Hg light source)
    • LB-multilayers
    • Self-assembly from solution
    • Nano Imprinting with hard and soft stamps
    • preparative GPC with aqueous solvents for separation of Polymerfractions
  • Electrochemical Properties
    • Cyclovoltammetry
    • 4-point conductivity measurements