29.08. - 30.08.2018
Guest: Prof. Orlando Rojas, Aalto University

Prof. Orlando Rojas followed our invitation to give a CENIDE Science Talk on August 29 at the Essen Campus in lecture hall  S07S00D07 at 11:15 am. He is a world renowned researcher on nanocellulose, which a highly promising biomaterial with countless applications including  wound dressing, ultratough nanocomposites, flame barrier material, filtering or ultra high surface area carbon materials.
The talk is followed by another invited lecture given by Prof. Jochen Gutmann from the UDE and the DTNW, also revolving around the topics of biopolymers and textiles. More information about the talk can be found here.
Update: both talks were very inspiring and attracted a well-sized audience of about 50 people despite the summer break. The presenter both shared cutting edge and applied research demonstrating the enormous use of nanocellulose in science and technology. Orlando stayed the day for BBQ at the NETZ and for discussions with André on projects. on 30.08. orlando met with various groups of the UDE and had great brainstorming on running projects at the UDE and the potential to collaborate in the future.
CENIDE Science Talk

AFM image of cellulose nanofibers (CNF). CNFs a biofibers of polysaccharide biopolymer with typical dimensions of 10-20 nm width and several micrometers in length

19.08. - 23.08.2018
ACS National Meeting in Boston, MA (USA)
André was invited to give a talk on “Block Copolymers in Confinement” at the ACS Fall Meeting 2018 held in the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. The conference week was packed with very enlightening talks on block copolymer microphase separation, active colloids, biomaterials, functional photonics, and liquid cell-TEM. The exhibition offered many new gadgets and funny giveaways (many types of "anti stress ball").  The city of Boston also offered much to see and explore, first and foremost the halls of MIT and Harvard University, but also Faneiul hall, Quincy Market, the harbor and the wales.
01.09. - 30.11.2018
Visiting scientist Clement Chan from Cambridge, UK
The group welcomes Clement for the next 3 months. He currently is 2nd year PhD in the bio-inspired photonics lab led by Silvia Vignolini in the Department of Chemistry of the University of Cambridge. During his research stay, he will be synthesizing fully biocompatible block copolymers for photonic applications.
Thesis defense of Johannes Haataja, Aalto University, FIN
A former collaborator of the Aalto University finished his thesis and successfully graduated. One of UDEs Juniorprofessors, Michael Giese, was an honorable guest of the defense and took on the role of the opponent.
Johannes and André worked together on cryogenic electron tomography (cryo-ET) of complex polymer nanostructures. They were able to visualize the 3D structural features of multicompartment micelles in water and organic solvents. Johannes  also worked on hybrid materials consisting of cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) and gold nanoparticles demonstrating geometric arrangement of the particles with precision interparticle spacing. The chiral twist of the CNC affects the positioning of the gold nanoparticles to give chiral plasmonics as verified in circular dichroism.
Thesis Johannes S. Haataja







Cover of the doctoral thesis of Johannes Haataja, Aalto University, Finland.

Danie Heineman Award 2018!
The Göttinger Akademie der Wissenschaften awarded André with the Danie Heineman Prize 2018. The award acknowledges Andrés work on the synthesis of functional polymer nanoparticles and their use in hierarchical self-assembly into clusters, photonic lattices sand more complex multicomponent arrangements. This field of research will be expanded in the current Emmy Noether projects.  The Award ceremony will take place in Göttingen on the 02/03.11.2018. This award is presented since 1961 every two years. Previous awardees can be also found here.
Special Issue finally finished!
André served as guest editor for Polymer (Elsevier) compiling a Special Issue on "Advanced Polymer Synthesis for Functional Nanostructures", which was finally concluded with a Andrés Editoral. The Special Issue contains 1 Feature Article by Stephen Cheng on polysilsesquioxanes as well as 29 papers covering advanced synthesis of polymers, block copolymers and polymer architectures for  self-assembly in bulk and solution, functional materials and applications.
29.06. - 22.07.2018
IUPAC MACRO2018 in Cairns, Australia
André was invited to give a Keynote lecture on “Confinement assembly of block copolymers to multicompartment microparticles” at the IUPAC MACRO2018 conference in Cairns, Australia, which took place from 01.07.-05.07.2018. The presentation was received very well and led to many interesting discussions afterwards. The quality of the talks on the entire conference was very high. Andreas Walther was the recipient of the Hanwha-Total IUPAC Young Scientist Award 2018 and gave an excellent presentation about their recent works on polymer properties of designed DNA and dissipative assemblies. During the conference André also served as chairperson in the morning session "Smart and Functional Polymers" introducing renowned scientists and rising stars. The conference was located close to the great barrier reef with beautiful landscapes. André had a very good time in Cairns meeting old friends and making new ones, and hopes to visit again some time for another meeting. He spend some extra time in Australia and traveled to Brisbane to see the campus of the Queens University of Technology (the CUBE!) and the university of Sydney where he visited the lab of Markus Müllner.
Photo @MACRO2018 Cairns

On the Photo (left to right): Markus, André, Felix, Tina, Anja, Christopher

Sommferfest der Chemie @ UDE: Alex represented the group
Alexander Tjaberings gave a presentation at the Sommerfest der Chemie on the Essen Campus and introduced the university to the group and its research projects. The presentation was much appreciated by the audience and led to discussions between group members and other groups as well as interested students.
Thesis defense: Maria Morits, Aalto University, FIN
While at the Aalto University, André co-supervised M.Sc. Maria Morits who successfully defended her doctoral thesis and graduated. She worked together with André on lightweight bionanocomposites and mechanical properties of structural materials. Projects comprised the modification of nanocelluloses using ATRP and studied fracture mechanics on bulk nacre mimetic nanocomposites. The latter is a layered material of clay and polymer with exceptional strength, resistance to fracture, and fire shielding properties.
Cover Thesis M.Sc. Maria Morits







The cover shows mineralized shells using cellulose nanocrystals as templates. The work generally deals with biomaterials, bionanocomposites and hybrid materials.

The Red Couch: André visits Gymnasium Pegnitz for a chat on Research
André followed an imitation of his former Biology teacher (now Dean) Annett Becker and visited his old high school to give a presentation on “From Pegnitz into the world – The life and Work of a Scientist”. Unlike the typical audience of scientists, this time the audience was composed of teachers and parents who wanted to know about how to become a scientist, what a scientist does and learn about polymers. The presentation was followed by 2 hours of Q&A on polymer materials, plastic waste and where polymers enrich our daily lives. News articles about the interview can be found here.
04.05. - 13.05.2018
Trip through China
André was invited to participate the Young Polymer Chemist forum in Shanghai, China. He traveled first to Hangzhou where he met with Felix Schacher to visit Jun Ling, a former colleague from Bayreuth and now researcher at the Zheijan University. Felix and André gave presentations and had discussions with group members. They especially enjoyed a guided tour given by Jun through the extensive and extremely impressive Lingyin-Tempel in Hangzhou. After this visit they traveled to Shanghai to visit another colleague, Weian Zhang, at the East China University of Science and Technology (ECUST), where André gave a presentation on "Block Copolymer Photonics".
Finally, they went to Donghua University in Shanghai to attend the 3-day Symposium giving a presentation on confinement assembly. The symposium featured early career researchers in equal parts from China and Germany fostering research collaborations. Helmut Cölfen from University Konstanz gave a very interesting presentation about bone implants. This was the first trip to china, which left an very positive impression.

Paper on confinement assembly receives back cover on Special Issue
The paper of Andrea Steinhaus was accepted earlier this year, but now we received the back cover of the Special Issue of Macromolecular Rapid Communication on collaborations between Germany and Australia. The back cover illustrates in an Artwork the arrangement of block copolymer brushes inside the confinement of nanoemulsion droplets.
New book chapter on Self-assembly Soft Nanoparticles
In an group effort, we published a book chapter on "Self-Assembly of Soft Nanoparticles" in the reference series "Comprehensive Nanoscience and Technology" published by Elsevier. The bock chapter which contains over 400 references, 60 pages and 46 figures about the synthesis and self-assembly of colloids, patchy particles, micelles, their superstructures and potential applications.
New Master Student: Nicole Janoska started her work on emulsion polymerization
Nicole Janoszka started her Master thesis on the synthesis and characterization of microparticles produced by emulsion polymerization. The microparticles will consist of a loosely crosslinked network and contain catalytic centers for heterogenous catalysis. Over the course of her thesis, she aims to study the effect of cross-linking density, amount of catalyst and size of particles on catalytic performance.
08.04. - 08.04.2018
Visit at NTNU, Trondheim
André followed an invitation to the Fussum group by Ville Liljeström who is currently Postdoc at the renowned Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Norway.
André delivered a talk in the physics colloquium on "Complex Colloids by Self-Assembly" and give an two lectures on Soft Matter. The Fossum group has great expertise in active structuring of colloids using electro hydrodynamic forces as well as long-standing expertise in clay materials. The stay peaked in a long evening of great food and discussions about future trends in materials science as well as potential collaborations.
Paper accepted in MRC
A joint paper got accepted in Macromolecular Rapid Communications with Andrea Steinhaus in the leading first author role. The publication is the first in a series in two ways: first, it deals with confinement assembly of block copolymers and will be followed by more research conducted by Andrea; second, this publication marks the first installment of a hopefully long tradition of papers between the Müllner group @ University of Sydney and the Gröschel-Lab @ UDE.
The paper by Andrea deals with studies on the confinement assembly of molecular diblock bottlebrushes into well-defined axially stacked lamellar discs or bicontinuous networks (depending on block size). The paper shows for the first time that polymer topologies such as bottle brushes have an impact on the way multicompartment microparticles develop. The bottlebrushes were provided by the Müllner group.
Table of contents graphic

The image shows diblock bottle brushes, which are linear molecular nanoparticles with amphiphilic segments. These block copolymer like nanoparticles were used in confinement-assembly and resulted in lamellar microparticles.

Presentation at TU Dortmund
On 15.03.18 André went to TU Dortmund to give a talk on "Self-Assembled Colloids: Builduing Particles from the Bottom-Up" in the polymer seminar on invitation of Prof Jörg Tiller. After the talk there were very fruitful discussions with the Tiller group but also with Ralf Weberskirch from the organic Chemistry department postentially leading to new collaborations.
The short trip to the neighbouring university was very inspiring and strengthend the polymer links within the UA RUHR.
Delivery of Laboratory Equipment
The group has moved to the NETZ building in Duisburg and has settled in entirely new but empty laboratories. Thus, the last couple of month one of the main focus was to equip the lab with large amounts of consumables, glassware and gadgets. Finally, one of the last deliveries of glassware arrived today incl. drying oven, new glassware for Schlenk set-up, dewars, liquid nitrogen storage tank, pumps, rotary evaporator, magnetic stirrers and more.
The lab at the NETZ is now well-equipped to conduct organic synthesis, polymerizations, making colloids and advanced materials.
Fully equipped chemistry lab

After several weeks of selecting, inquiring and ordering, the lab finally is equipped with everything that is necessary to do chemistry! Special thanks to Axel and Tai for the many orders.

06.03. - 11.03.2018
Conference in Tsukuba, Japan
From 06.03.-12.03.18 André went to the 2018 Joint Symposium on Energy Materials Science and Technology in Tsukuba to deliver an invited talk on "Block Copolymer Templates for Energy Applications". The conference is the 8th installment in a series aiming at joint research between several institutes around the world, where CENIDE acts as one of the driving forces (the 6th Symposium was held 2016 at the NETZ ).
The Symposium featured 35 presentations and about the same numebr of posters.
Overall the conferecne was a very enligthening trip into the world of energy materials and the culture of Japan.
Publication in ACS Nano
In the Article "Block Copolymer Micelles for Photonic Fluids and Crystals" we describe the precision assembly of block copolymers to micelles with super- stretched corona, yet with narrow size distribution to qualify as building blocks for tunable and reversible micellar photonic fluids (MPFs) and micellar photonic crystals (MPCs).
The BCMs form free-flowing MPFs with an average interparticle distance of 150−300 nm as defined by the electrosteric repulsion arising from the highly charged and stretched corona. Under quiescent conditions, millimeter-sized free-floating MPCs with classical FCC lattice grow in the photonic fluid-medium upon refinement of the positional order of the BCMs. We discuss the generic properties of MPCs with special emphasis on surprisingly narrow reflected wavelengths with full width at half-maximum (fwhm) as small as 1 nm. We expect this concept to open a generic and facile way for self-assembled tunable micellar photonic structures.
Table of contents graphic

The image shows from right to left how block copolymer micelles of PS-b-P4VP assemble into hexagonal lattices in 2D (cryo-TEM) and fcc lattices in 3D. Lattices are on the order of half the wavelength of visible light become photonic reflectors.

21.02. - 23.02.2018
Macromolecular Colloquium in Freiburg '18
In February, the entire group went to Freiburg to participate the Macromolecular Colloquium 2018. The conference is the biggest and most important in Macromolecular Science in Germany with about 1000 visitors each year (all in only one lecture hall). This years conference featured 3 days of packed sessions of insightful talks opening with energy-dissipative assembly on day 1.
Andrea Steinhaus was able to acquire one of highly competitive poster slots and gave an excellent presentation on the confinement assembly of triblock terpolymers to generate Janus Nanorings. This is undoubtedly the first and only time a doughnut filled the entire wall of the auditorium. The poster attracted much attention with equally much discussion at the poster stand (doughnuts included!).
Overall, it was a packed trip with evening gatherings at Martins Bräu, talks, discussions and dinners. The group made connections to other researchers and gathered much experience at the biggest conference on Macromolecular Chemistry in Germany.
Group photo at the Andreas Poster

The photo shows Andrea giving her poster presentation in the enormous Auditorium with an the enormous doughnut in the background. Later the group gathered at Andreas Poster to enjoy some real doughnuts and discussions with many interested visitors.

CENIDE Conference: Bergisch Gladbach, Germany
The 3rd CENIDE conference took place from 19-21.02. at the Karl-Schulte Haus in Bergisch Gladbach offering three days of strategic and scientific discussions amongst about 90 participants. The conference featured 21  talks mornign sessions focusing on broad fields of research or introductions to running and planned coordinated programs. Afternoon sessions were divided also into 21 presentations of young researchers highlighting recent research achiements. The scientific programm was further accompanied by poster sessions with 24 posters.
The non-scientific program between sessions and in the evening comprised a relaxed atmosphere to exchange experiences, discuss future events and projects. A special highligth certainly was the table-fussball tournament!
For more information on the event click here
Group Excursion to Carneval in Düsseldorf
New Equipment: GPC Extension
A new GPC set-up was installed today by PSS and is up and running. From now on it is possible to run two GPC systems in parallel for the detection of polymers in THF and DMAc with different RI-detectors and multi-wavelength UV-detectors. The lab is thus now equipped with setups that allow high throughput screening of polymerization kinetics. The first successful polymerization kinetics of block copolymers have already been measured!
Guest Lecture - Prof. Dr. Markus Retsch
Prof. Dr. Markus Retsch, Lichtenberg-Juniorprofessur for Polymer Systems at University Bayreuth, gave a talk about thermal transport in nano- and mesostructured materials. The talk is part of the PC/ThC Colloquium series which will be coordinated by André in the future. Markus has studied in Bayreuth and did his PhD at the MPI for Polymer Research in Mainz, and his Postdoc at the MIT with Prof. Ned Thomas. Markus has recently received an ERC Starting Grant and was appointed Professor in Bayreuth.