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CIC08_Master_From bioinspiration to technology: Bio-inspired organic-inorganic hybrid materials

Materials research often relies on bioinspiration. Numerous materials were/are developed by learning from natural principles and applying those principles to technical materials. A fascinating principle in nature is the incorporation of minerals into proteins, which often results in serious changes of the mechanical properties of the protein. For example, the biopolymer collagen gains exceptional fracture resistance after mineralization of hydroxyapatite and thus formation of bone.

This master project goes beyond the modification of mechanical properties of a soft material after incorporation of minerals. By using technical polymers instead of proteins and incorporation of functional inorganic materials, we aim at fabricating novel functional polymer-inorganic hybrids and explore their newly introduced physical or chemical properties beyond mechanics. The hybridization process is based on chemical vapor phase techniques, and the project will involve the fabrication and evaluation of the new materials for their resulting catalytic and/or electronic properties. The fundamental knowledge obtained from the experiments should help to design novel ways of controlled manipulation of physical properties of polymeric materials with nanoscale coating methods, eventually proving a new concept of functional material design.

The project will involve interdisciplinary work and the student will get insight into both chemical and physical strategies for synthesis and characterization available at nanoGUNE. Those include chemical vapor deposition (CVD) methods such as atomic layer deposition (ALD), various chemical and physical characterization techniques including infrared and Raman spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, photocatalytic efficiency characterization, conductivity measurements, etc.

The candidate will ideally have strong interest in the materials research aspect of chemistry or physics. He/she will be eager to perform basic research with high application potential in an international and interdisciplinary research group.

More information about the Nanomaterials Group: nanomaterials.nanogune.eu

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