Project description

In this project, we synthesize metal oxide nanoparticles of various shapes and sizes. In close collaboration with projects A2 and A6, these particles are used to assemble bio-inspired, hierarchically structured organic/inorganic nanocomposites. To provide materials with previously unrivaled mechanical properties, we systematically tune the particles’ size, shape and surface chemistry using various synthetic techniques.

As the most prominent examples we synthesize TiO2- and Fe3O4-nanoparticles as spheres, plates, rods, cubes and octopods. Their native stabilizing ligands can be exchanged via post-synthetic procedures by ligands with different anchoring groups (e.g. phosphates, phosphonic acids, catechol-derivatives). Further, these ligands feature additional functional groups or unsaturated hydrocarbons, which are reacted to cross-link the nanoparticles. To this end, specially tailored ligands are synthesized in project A2 and combined with our particles to provide extremely durable nanocomposites. The properties of these composites are studied in close collaboration with projects A4, A6, A7, Z2 and Z3.

Furthermore, we study the structural and micromechanical properties of thin freestanding nanocomposite membranes, using complementary microscopic and analytical techniques. For example, the mechanical properties of membranes, consisting of various cross-linked nanoparticles, are studied primarily via AFM-bulge tests.

Project leaders
Prof. Dr. rer. nat.
Horst Weller,
Dr. rer. nat.
Tobias Vossmeyer,


ligand exchange


freestanding membranes




1. A Feld et al.: A universal approach to ultrasmall magneto-fluorescent nanohybrids. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201503017, 2015

2. H. Kloust et al.: Synthesis of iron oxide nanorods using a template mediated approach. Chem. Mater. DOI:10.1021/acs.chemmater.5b00513, 2015 - with C3

3. C. Schmidtke et al.: Polymer-assisted self-assembly of superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles into well-defined clusters: Controlling the collective magnetic properties. Langmuir DOI:10.1021/la5021934, 2014 - with C3

... and more on the list of publications.

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