Archive 2017

Guest Lectures - Prof. Marcelo Diaz, Arrhus University
Christmas Party of the Group
SFB Colloquium - SFB985, RWTH Aachen, Germany
Electron Tomography of Topological Defects in Self-Assembled Bilayers
Publications in Polymer Chemistry
In the article "Supracolloidal Chians of Patchy Micelles in Water" Tai-Lam Nghiem and Tina I. Löbling synthesized a series of bishydrophilic triblock terpolymers via RAFT polymerization with the aim to form supracolloidal chains through a hierarchical self-assembly process.
For that, Tai assembled the terpolymers PEO-b-PS-b-P2VP in "soft" organic solvents to obtain very homogeneous micelles with a PS core and mixed/patchy corona of PEO/P2VP. Transfer to water pH2 then stabilized these micelles due to the double hydrophilic corona. In pH6 however, P2VP collapses and micelles start to form supracolloidal chains of different length and connectivity. The superstructures were analyzed with DLS in our laboratory as well as TEM in the Imaging Center Essen. Follow-up work will focus on polymorphism as well as different stimuli for supracolloidal structure formation.



TOC (by Gröschel)

New Group Member - Alexander Tjaberings
We welcome Alexander Tjaberings from UDE who joined the group on 01.12.17.
He will do his PhD in the Emmy Noether Independent Junior Research Group on the synthesis of functional triblock terpolymers and their self-assembly into topographic nanoparticles and 3D nanoparticle lattices.
New Group Member - Giada Quintieri
We welcome Giada Quintieri from RUB who joined the group on 01.12.17.
She will do her PhD in the Emmy Noether Independent Junior Research Group on the synthesis of functional triblock terpolymers and their self-assembly into topographic nanoparticles and 3D nanoparticle lattices.
New Group Member - Ramzi Chakroun
We welcome Ramzi Chakroun to our group who joined on 01.12.17!
He will be responsible for our dynamic light scattering setup and do his PhD on self-assembled triblock terpolymer nanostructures with special emphasis on following self-assembly kinetics and structure evolution in solution.
Networking-Event at NETZ
The Group organized a networking event with 50+ participants including lectures, dinner and pub quiz.
Publication in Polymer Chemistry
In the article "Polymer brush guided templating on well-defined rod-like cellulose nanocrystals" Maria Morits synthesized cylindrical polymer brushes by grafting diverse polymer chains from the backbone of cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs).
CNCs are rod-like nanoparticles of purely crystalline cellulose and have attracted much attention. These biomaterials are usually incompatible with many other materials and compatibilization of the surface further applications is necessary. Maria could show that grafting can be realized in controlled manner and that sol gel processes in the polymer shell leads to spatially controlled bio-inorganic hybrids.



TOC (by Gröschel)

Particle-Based Materials: INM Saarbrücken, Germany
Triblock Terpolymer Microparticles
Master Thesis Finished!
Congratulations to Ramzi Chakroun for successfully completing his Master Thesis!
Publication in Advanced Science
In the article "Imaging Inelastic Fracture Processes in Biomimetic Nanocomposites and Nacre by Laser Speckle for Better Toughness" Tuukka Verho studies the behavior of nacre mimetic nanocomposites under flexural stress and analyses the deformation with laser speckle imaging.
We find that this technique allows detecting plastic deformations before crack formation and provides insight into origin and propagation of cracks. We compared the results with measurements on real nacre samples and find differences in failure behavior. These results will help in the design of better matrix/reinforcement adhesion to further boost the performance of lightweight structural bionanocomposites.
Publication in Advanced Materials
In the Review "Novel materials through assembly of nanocelluloses" we summarize the exponentially growing field on nanocellulose and functional materials derived thereof.
This extensive review covers among others synthesis and properties of diverse nanocelluloses, processing with polymers, grating polymers from cellulose, cellulose protein and nanoparticles nanocomposites, fiber-spinning, hydrogels, biomimetic nanocomposites, nanocellulose materials with magnetic, conductive, optic and catalytic properties.
On a Visit
Prof. Andreas Walther on a visit to GDCh lecture.
New Group Member - Chen Chen
We welcome Chen Chen from Sichuan University in China who joined the group on 16.10.17.
He received the prestigious CSC Scholarship and will do his PhD within the next 48 months. He will be working on polymer self-assembly and precise nanoparticle clusters.
8th Young Chemist's Symposium Ruhr: MPI Mülheim, Germany
Block copolymers for the energy-efficient bottom-up construction of complex nanomaterials.
Interactive Materials Talks: DWI RWTH Aachen, Germany
Block copolymer nanoemulsions: From inverse morphologies to multicompartment microparticles
New Group Member - Xiaolian Qiang
We welcome Xiaolian Qiang from Institute of Chemical Materials, China Academy of Engineering Physics in China who joined the group on 22.09.17.
She received the prestigious CSC Scholarship and will do her PhD within the next 48 months. She will be working on block copolymer self-assembly, nanoemulsions, and topologically complex particles.
Master Thesis Finished!
Congratulations to Stefanie Tjaberings for successfully completing her Master Thesis!
Guest Presentation on Photodynamic Therapy by Prof. Weian Zhang
Prof. Weian Zhang from the East China University of Science and Technology (Shanghai, China) visited the group on Friday 15.09.2017 and gave a talk on a series of porphyrin-containing polymers using porphyrins as initiators, monomers, RAFT transfer agents and “click chemistry” agents.
He presented a variety of assemblies based on porphyrin-containing amphiphilic polymers useful in photodynamic therapy (PDT), where assemblies effectively improve the water solubility of the porphyrinic photosensitizers and enhance cellular internalization
Bachelor Thesis Finished!
Congratulations to Suna Azhdari for successfully completing her Bachelor Thesis!
3 PhD Positions available!
We are currently searching for 3 talented PhD students conducting research as part of an Emmy Noether Project launching November 2017. If you are a highly motivated researcher with background or interest in polymer and colloid science you can apply until 29.09.2017.
On the Move!
The group is working on interdisciplinary projects (see research) and energy conversion is one of them. Many synthetic concepts and materials in our group may serve as advanced scaffolds and templates for catalytic materials, separators, and compatibilizers. Since the group is also expanding quickly, the current laboratories at the Schützenbahn are not sufficient anymore. Thus, we applied for laboratory space at the newly erected Nano Energy Technic Centre (NETZ) and are now allowed to move into more sophisticated research environment!
From mid September onward the group will be mainly located here and is looking forward to fruitful collaborations and a great time at the NETZ.
Emmy-Noether Programm
The application for an Emmy Noether Independent Research Group was accepted by the German Research Foundation (DFG).
From today onward, the Gröschel Group is one of four Emmy Noether Groups in Polymer Chemistry in Germany and thus, part of an elite network within the Emmy-Noether Programm.

Logo of the Emmy-Noether Programm

Publication in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering
In the article "Polymer Brushes on Cellulose Nanofibers: Modification SI-ATRP, and Unexpected Degradation Processes" Maria Morits explores routs to modify cellulose nanofibers for controlled radical surface-initiated polymerization.
Nanocelluloses are fascinating biomaterials harvested from plants trees and other biological sources. Nanocelluloses have received much attention recently due to their exceptional mechanical properties while being a green material with low ecological footprint. To make nanocellulsoes attractive for various applications, compatibilization through surface modification is necessary. Concepts are in demand and successful SI-ATRP opens a whole new toolbox for diverse chemical surface functions through choice of monomer.
17.07. - 21.07.2017
16th ICC Clay Conference in Granada
Upon invitation from the organizers, André traveled to Granada to give a talk on 20.07. at 42 °C on "Fracture properties of nacre-mimetic clay-based bionanocomposites".
The conference took place in the science park of Granada, which was an interesting place with lots to discover. The excursion to Alhambra was a very special trip into an old city with marvelous architecture and designs. André acknowledges the DAAD for supporting this conference trip, where polymer chemistry meets high-value silicates to create novel functional materials.
Highlight in Angewandte Chemie
In "Block Copolymer Micelles with Inverted Morphologies" we highlight an emerging field in polymer research dealing with the self-assembly of highly asymmetric block copolymers into inverse micelles (see also research).
Inverse micelles are obtained when the hydrophobic block becomes large enough so that the packing parameter becomes larger than one (p > 1). Fascinating microparticles develop with nanoscale periodicities and high symmetry lattices (cubic, hexagonal, double diamond,...). This research field is relatively new but bares high application potential given the immense interfacial area the grows linearly with particle size (unlike e.g. vesicles 1/R). Applications range from delivery, storage, replicas and energy conversion. The latter will be part of research conducted at the Nano Energy Technic Centre.
Bachelor Thesis Finished!
Congratulations to Alexander Eiland for successfully completing his Bachelor Thesis!
17.06. - 24.06.2017
9th International Symposium Molecular Mobility and Oder in Polymer Systems
Conference in St. Petersburg
New Bachelor-Project
Suna Azhdari is welcome in our team to prepare her bachelor thesis on polystyrene sulfonate containing block copolymers.
07.06. - 08.07.2017
Physics Lecture in Luxenbourg
Guest Talk of Polyferrocenes by Dr.-Ing. Markus Gallei
Markus Gallei from the TU Darmstadt visited the group to discuss projects and gave a presentation on ferrocene-based polymers and advanced materials applications at the UDE. In the evening we went to dinner with the entire group.
18.05. - 21.05.2017
HYBER Meeting in Helsinki
Inaugral and GDCh Lecture
The first inaugural lecture in the frame of a GDCh lecture given by André presenting the work of the group and work to come in-front of a big audience.
After the talk everyone enjoyed beer, bratwurst and pretzel. Special thanks to Andrea, Tai for setting up the evening event, Sebastian for standing behind the grill (and making excellent sausages/steaks) and Suna for documenting everything with her camera.
New Master Project!
Ramzi Chakroun has started his master thesis, after he successfully completed his advanced lab course on block copolymer self-assemblies in solution at our working group.
Group Excursion
The group went to the horror labyrinth in Bottrop and later to dinner at Woodpeckers.
09.05.2017 - 10.05.2017
Symposium at MPI-Polymer Research, Mainz
Symposium at the MPI-Polymer Research, Mainz, in honor of Prof Axel H.E. Müllers 70th Birthday.
The organizers Felix Schacher, Markus Retsch, Anja Goldmann, Andreas Walther and André Gröschel could bring together an exciting line-up of world renowned researchers. The two days were a great success sharing ideas and getting together with good food and drinks (topped of with a Janus Cake).
New Instruments Arrived!
The groups first Size-Exclusion Chromatography (SEC/GPC) arrived for polymer characterization.
The GPC was successfully installed and is running on THF or DMAc/LiBr. At the same time a Flow Box arrived which will allow to prepare samples free of any dust for light scattering experiments. Some photos of the instruments can be found in the gallery here.
Chinese Guests & Evonik Fellows
Joint seminar between six Evonik fellows at UDE and six visiting Evonik fellows from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai China.
Together with Dr. Felix Müller from Evonik we organized an afternoon full of presentations and research discussions with newest results from both universities. Our thanks to the visitors and André is looking forward to travel to the partner university next year.
New Master Project!
Stefanie Tjaberings has started her master thesis, after successfully completing her advanced lab course on block copolymer templates for hybrids materials within the group.
05.04. - 07.04.2017
13th Zsigmondy Colloquium of the German Colloid Society
New Bachelor-Project!
Alexander Eiland is welcome to our team to conduct his bachelor thesis on PEGylation of gold nanoparticles for SERS applications.
Visit in Leiden (Netherlands)
Tai-Lam Nghiem and Andrea Steinhaus are visiting the University in Leiden (Netherlands) to be instructed in Cryo-TEM measurements.
04.03. - 12.03.2017
5th International Conference on Multifunctional, Hybrid and Nanomaterials
Conference Lisbon giving a talk on "Nanoparticles with chemical and structural topography" and serving as chairman.
15.02. - 18.02.2017
Macromolecular Colloquium in Freiburg
The first conference visit of the entire group.
Great experience and insightful talks at the biggest conference on Macromolecular Chemistry in Germany (as always). The group will visit the next year for sure.
New Group Member - Andrea Steinhaus
The group welcomes M.Sc. Andrea Steinhaus.
She just started her PhD on block copolymer microphases in the confinement of nanoemulsions with the aim to create complex microparticles, porous latex particles and novel soft nanoparticles.
First GDCh Lecture
André gave his first GDCh Lecture while visiting Prof. Thomas Hellweg of the Physical Chemistry Department at the University of Bielefeld.
The presentation was titled "From coffee mugs and doughnuts to complex soft matter nanostructures" and deals with novel block copolymer nanostructures that are decorated with specific surface pattern. In particular, striped patterns on flat and curved objects and the emergence of inevitable topological defects. These defects adapt to the substrate curvature and follow specific mathematical rules that are universal from magnetic monopols to everybodies hair to galaxies. Before and after the presentation there was much discussion with research groups in Bielefeld with potential projects developing on emulsion polymerization and microemulsions.