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New materials for soft and sustainable electronics

Endowed Professor of Applied Polymer Physics holds inaugural lecture

"We are material makers," says chemist Franziska Lissel about her working group. She has been a new junior professor for Applied Polymer Physics at Hamburg University of Technology for a year now, funded by the Ingeborg Gross Foundation. Four doctoral students are already working with her in the field of basic research into electronically functional materials. This means, for example: Developing new polymers that are electronically conductive but also soft and stretchable so that they can be worn on the skin.

"We are researching how we can design materials that are biocompatible. People move and the materials we create have to be able to move with them," explains Lissel. If materials are harder than the human tissue they are supposed to interact with, they cause pain or are rejected by the body. "Our aim is to develop materials that are not only intrinsically conductive from the outset, but also stretchable without losing their functionality. You can think of it like a hair elastic," says Lissel. These materials can then be used, for example, as patches on the skin to measure blood sugar levels or in implants to restore vision. Soft and sustainable electronics is just one of four main areas of research in Lissel's team: they are also working on new materials for information and energy storage, the modulation of electronic interfaces and unimolecular electronics - i.e. the realization of electronic functionality on individual molecules. Another focus of the team is to be able to develop these materials sustainably.

Commitment to equality in the TU Hamburg excellence project

In addition to her scientific work, Lissel is committed to equality and the promotion of underrepresented groups. This is also the case within the research initiative "BlueMat: Water-Driven Materials", with which TU Hamburg is currently applying to the German Research Foundation for a first Cluster of Excellence. Lissel makes it clear: "Diversity is not just about promoting women, but this is of course very important, especially in the STEM field." As Diversity Director, she will develop a concept for "BlueMat" to specifically promote female researchers, but also single fathers, people with disabilities or people from socio-economically disadvantaged families. "It is important that all these factors are not dramatized, but normalized," says Lissel.

About the professorship

Professor Lissel has headed the Institute of Applied Polymer Physics (IAPP) at TU Hamburg since May 2023. In the past, Lissel has worked at Friedrich Schiller University Jena and the TU Dresden, conducted research at Standford University and the University of Zurich, among others. Lissel is committed to technology transfer and regularly works with industry partners such as IBM Research, Procter & Gamble, Samsung and Schill+Seilacher.

The professorship is funded by the Hamburg-based Ingeborg Gross Foundation. With this endowed professorship at TU Hamburg as well as the Ingeborg Gross Prize and other scholarships at TU and Universität Hamburg, the foundation, which was established in 2019, strengthens science and research in the Hanseatic city and is committed to promoting young talent in the field of chemistry.

More Information

You can find out more about Professor Lissel's research at www.tuhh.de/iapp