Innovative Training Networks (ITN)

Das ITN-Projekt “STIMULUS” fokusiert sich auf bessere diagnostische Strategien, neuartige Materialien und eine gezieltere Wirkstoff-Steuerung bei der Behandlung von entzündlichen Wundinfektionen.

Currently involved team members: Mohadeseh Bagherabadi

Funding: EU-Förderprogramm Marie-Skłodowska-Curie



CeraSleeve® is a startup project in the field of Circular Economy", which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) as part of the EXIST research transfer funding program.
The recently patented circular material innovation, which is based on a novel coating process, enables the sustainable production of wet-strength and water-repellent papers. In contrast to conventional methods, the use of synthetic resins and plastic films is completely avoided. At the same time, the technology makes paper products such as disposable cups or sanitary paper fully recyclable for the first time. This makes a significant contribution to conserving resources and protecting the environment.

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Related Publications:

M. Nau & N. Herzog, J. Schmidt, T. Meckel, A. Andrieu-Brunsen & M. Biesalski , Janus‐Type Hybrid Paper Membranes, Adv. Mater. Interf., 2019, 6, 1900892.

Nau, Herzog, Andrieu-Brunsen, Biesalski DE 102018124255.7, 2018.

C. Dubois, N. Herzog, C. Rüttiger, A. Geissler, E. Grange, U. Kunz, H.-J. Kleebe, M. Biesalski, T. Meckel, T. Gutmann, M. Gallei, A. Andrieu-Brunsen, Fluid Flow Programming in Paper-Derived Silica-Polymer Hybrids, Langmuir, 2017, 33, 332-339.

Currently involved team members: M. Stanzel, N. Rath, A. Coreth

ERC StG “3D-FNP-Writing”

3D-FNPWriting will reduce the performance gap between natural and technological membranes based on significantly increased 3D nanolocal control on nanopore structure and asymmetric nanoscale functionalization as well as on membrane architecture and composition.

Key to this advanced membrane design is the nanolocal asymmetric functional and hierarchical structural control in nanopores and their membranes. This will be achieved by implementing a technology platform based on 3D printing and high resolution microscopy initiated functional polymer writing. With this disruptive technology platform 3D-FNPWriting will provide groundbreaking, to date unachieved, selective, directed transport with tuneable rates in artificial nanoporous membranes. This will allow to experimemtally correlate nanolocal structure and functional placement with transport and will open new perspectives in membrane performance supporting water and energy management for future smart industry/ homes.

Currently involved team members: C. Förster, L. Zhao, D. Spiehl, R. Lehn, M. Kremer, D. Richter

Funding: ERC

SFB 1194

Our project within the collaborative research center „Interaction between transport and wetting processes“examines the transport of charged molecules in solution through nanometer scale pores and explores the interaction with the wetting characteristics of the substrate.

In this context, the understanding of macro- and nanoscopic wetting is a first step for manipulating transport processes. In particular, the influence of the ions in solution on the charged pore walls and the effect on contact line dynamics will receive special attention. Specific links to both generic configurations, to MD modeling, and to all projects using porous surfaces are important. Potential application are found in the separation, sensor technology or molecule release. Even boiling processes can be influenced by mesoporous surface coatings.

Related Publications:

Laura Despot , Chirag Hinduja , Robert Lehn , Joanna Mikolei , Timo Richter , Kilian Köbschall , Mathias Stanzel , Rüdiger Berger , Jeanette Hussong , Marcelo Ceolín and Annette Andrieu-Brunsen, Molecular Transport and Water Condensation inside Mesopores with Wettability Step Gradients, Nanoscale Adv., 2023, 5, 6123-6134.

L. Despot, A. Andrieu-Brunsen, Effects of the Polymer Amount and pH on Proton Transport in Mesopores Adv. Mater. Interfaces 2023, 2202456.

A. Khalil, P. Rostami, G.K. Auernhammer, A. Andrieu-Brunsen, Mesoporous Coatings with Simultaneous Light-Triggered Transition of Water Imbibition and Droplet Coalescence, Adv. Mater. Interfaces, 2021, 8, 2100252.

A. Khalil, F. Schäfer, N. Postulka, M. Stanzel, M. Biesalski, A. Andrieu-Brunsen, Wettability-defined droplet imbibition in ceramic mesopores, Nanoscale, 2020, 12, 24228.

A. Khalil, M. Zimmermann, A. K. Bell, U. Kunz, S. Hardt, H.-J. Kleebe, R. W. Stark, P. Stephan, A. Andrieu-Brunsen, Insights into the interplay of wetting and transport in mesoporous silica films, J. Colloid Interf. Sci., 2020, 560, 369-378.

L. Silies, E. Gonzalez Solveyra, I. Szleifer, A. Andrieu-Brunsen, Insights into the Role of Counterions on Polyelectrolyte-modified Nanopore Accessibility, Langmuir, 2018, 34, 20, 5943.

Currently involved team members: L. Balonier

Funding: SFB

DFG Project

3D Local Near-Field Mode Initiated Polymerisation

We are exploring the potential of near field modes to localize polymer functionalization in three dimensions at the nanoscale. Due to the wavelength region of these near field modes such as surface plasmons this needs visible light (> 470 nm) induced polymerizations.

Currently, we are for example investigating dye-sensitized polymerization using methylene blue or fluoresceine.

Related Publications:

D. John, M. Stanzel, A. Andrieu-Brunsen, Surface Plasmons and Visible Light Iniferter Initiated Polymerization for Nanolocal Functionalization of Mesoporous Separation Layers, Adv. Funct. Mater., 2021, 31,2009732.

D. John, R. Mohammadi, N. Vogel, A. Andrieu-Brunsen, Surface plasmon and green light induced polymerization in mesoporous thin silica films, Langmuir, 2020, 36, 7, 1671-1679.

N. Herzog, J. Kind, C. Hess, A. Andrieu-Brunsen, Surface Plasmons & Visible Light For Polymer Functionalization of Mespores and Manipulation of Ionic Permselectivity, Chem. Commun., 2015, 51, 11697.

Formerly involved team members: M.Kirsch

Funding: DFG

DFG Project

Nanopräzise und multifunktionale Porenfunktionalisierung durch Benetzungssteuerung

Especially in the context of sensing, monitoring and the design of selective or coupled transport phenomena, multifunctional nanopores will be needed.

Currently we are working on different strategies using interface effects such as wetting and the combination of differnet materials or looking at re-initiation of polymers and block-co-oligomer formation to place multiple functions into individual nanopores.

Related Publication:

M. Ochs, R. Mohammadi, N. Vogel, A. Andrieu-Brunsen, Wetting-controlled localized placement of surface functionalities within nanopores, Small, 2020, 16, 1906463.

R. Mohammadi, M. Ochs, A. Andrieu-Brunsen, N. Vogel, Effect of Asymmetry on Plasmon Hybridaization and Sensing Capacities of Hole-Disk Arrays, J. Phys. Chem. C, 2019, 124, 4, 2609-2618.

Currently involved team members: L. Czerwenka

Formerly involved team members: M. Ochs

Collaboration Prof. Vogel FAU Erlangen

Funding: DFG

DFG Project

Nanoporen als kommunizierende Reaktionsräume in Silica-Hybrid-Baumwollfädennetzwerken und Papieren

Communicating reaction spaces are a prerequisite for the construction of complex systems. They are discussed in the context ofso-called “life-like materials” but also for technological applications in sensor technology, e.g. for signal amplification.

The necessary compartments are predominantly constructed from biological cells, polymersomes or similar components. One disadvantage is that in these “materials” the arrangement of pore spaces depends on the assembly processes. Another drawback is that transport between such pore spaces is based on diffusion and can be difficult to design in an adjustable manner. Here, functionalized papers or cotton threads with adjustable pore spaces and controllable fluid distributions offer new possibilities, but have not yet been investigated. Also, only a few examples of functionalized cotton threads and papers have been widely used in applications such as diagnostic test strips, despite the relatively large and growing number of research approaches to modified papers and potential demonstrator applications to date. In this context, pore spaces are crucial for applications of high-tech papers in the context of sensing or catalysis. In the first funding period (FP), we were able to show how adjustable pore spaces locally control fluid distribution and fluid flow in paper and cotton threads. The formation of nanoscale pores by mesoporous silica coatings in paper and cotton threads was controlled, the characterization of these processes was extended, and three-dimensional porous silica gradients, and thus e.g. three-dimensional adjustable fluid distribution, were designed in a paper. Thus, in addition to functional papers and cotton threads, we were able to contribute to the evaluation of models of fluid behavior in papers. An important finding was that fiber swelling but also the presence of nanoscale pores on the fiber play an important role, which is not considered in most models. In the second funding period, the control of fluid distribution in papers as well as the arrangement of different pore spaces in paper will be extended to adjustable pore sizes and complementary functionalization in order to make communicating reaction spaces and thus a new generation of functional papers accessible, e.g. in the context of sensor technology and “life-like materials”. The enzyme cascade reactions of glucose oxidase (GOx) and myoglobin (MGB) will serve as a model reaction to study pore size and partitioning effects. In this process, GOx converts glucose to peroxide, which in turn reacts with MGB amplex red to form resorufin. By combining this reaction with the described cotton threads and paper, fundamental questions about the control of complex reactions by the design of reaction spaces, their arrangement as well as fluid distribution in papers and 3D linked thread networks become accessible and thus design criteria for sensor papers but also for “life-like” materials can be derived.

Collaboration Nico Bruns, Markus Biesalski, Prof. SchabelTU Darmstadt

Currently involved team members:

Funding: DFG

DFG Project

Understanding and predicting nanopore transport by polymer chain composition design for ionic circuits

The proposed project aims to generate optimized nanopore design strategies for technological nanopore-based ionic circuits in future autonomous sensing.

To achieve this goal, the project will interdigitate new experimental nanopore functionalization strategies in collaboration with the latest developments in molecular theory on transport through polymer functionalized nanopores to resolve, understand, predict, and experimentally control all relevant processes and their interplay within a nanopore including polymer conformational changes, charge distribution, charge regulation, polarity, and ligand binding as well as ion distribution within a nanopore. The insights gained from a strong coupling of nanopore functionalization and molecular modeling will enable us to define design criteria for selective, directed transport with concentration-time profile control, an essential tool for technological nanopore-based ionic circuits.

Collaboration Prof. Igal Szleifer, Northwestern University, US

Funding: DFG

DFG Project

FOR Transieves – Highly ordered, electrically modulatable, conductive mesoporous separation layers

The „Forschergruppe“ funded by DFG aims to implement transient separation concepts in nanoscale pores. Within this context our research group investgates the experimental implementation of transient separation in conductive mesoporous materials. An increase in separation selectivity and more energy efficient separation is envisioned.

Currently involved team members: currently searching for a team member

Funding: DFG

DFG Project

FOR 5584: Transient Sieves

Transient sieves constitute a novel technological concept to separate species dissolved or suspended in a liquid. Until now, separation processes have largely been based on spatial exclusion: It depends on whether a component is small enough to pass through a pore or not. In this research group, we are investigating separation by temporal exclusion, i.e. the permeability of a sieve or pore as a function of time. The decisive factor is whether a species can pass through a pore in a certain time. The aim is to equip sieves with novel and useful properties, e.g. increased selectivity or lower energy consumption.

Funding: DFG

Train LSE Cofund EU

Towards chemical information processing between synthetic or biological compartments

To enable chemical information processing between synthetic or biological compartments we aim to integrate synthetic nanopores into multicompartment systems to control molecular transport in time, and thus to design chemical information exchange between compartments.

Compartments can be a reaction space in a microfluidic lab-on-chip device, or a biological cell reacting to a specific molecule. To design signaling pathways between such compartments, time-dependent, precisely controlled concentration-time profiles of signaling molecules are required. These molecules then trigger a response in the neighboring compartment. The concentration-time profile design in nanopore transport requires a precise nanopore fabrication, nanopore functionalization, e.g. using polymers, and nanopore device integration. We develop functionalized nanoscale porous ceramic materials allowing temporally controlled molecular transport or release. We aim to interface such nanoporous materials with biological cells or chemical reactions and to integrate them into compartments of microfluidic devices. Exemplary key words are: sol-gel chemistry, stimuli-responsive polymer grafting from, light-triggered release, additive manufacturing, nanoscale polymer writing, cyclic voltammetry, ellipsometry, fluorescence microscopy, nanopore transport gating.

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Currently involved team members: currently searching for a team member

Funding: DFG

FIF / FAUDI Project

Nanoporous membranes for selective removal of micro pollutants from water

Nanoporous hybrid membranes with functional separation layers represent a promising new development for increasing membrane selectivity of certain substances (Andrieu-Brunsen et al. 2015).

By adapting the functionalization of the interface layers (charge state, hydrophilicity), e.g. by pH-dependent zwitterionic polymers, permeation into membrane pores can be prevented or accelerated. This is highly important for sustainable water management in the context of future smart industry concepts. However, the functionality and resistance of such interface layers under application-related test conditions with regard to pressure, pH value, crossflow, permeability and presence of other constituents still remain unknown. Interdisciplinary cooperation of “Smart Membranes” and “Wastewater Technology” will explore basics of preparing functionalized nanoporous separation layers on macroporous substrates and their behavior during crossflow filtration of micropollutant solutions and wastewater. Permeability and selectivity will be optimized by repetitive iteration and benchmarked against a commercially available polymeric NF membrane.

Collaboration Prof. Engelhart TU Darmstadt

Currently involved team members: M. Stanzel

Funding: FAUDI Stiftung

Former Funding: Forum interdisziplinäreForschung – fif

LOEWE -iNAPO (finished)

In this context “pH” is an important parameter to control the charge within spatial confinement and thus to control pore accessibility. Thereby, spatial confinement influences “pH” in pores.

Here, we are interested in understanding the effect of spatial confinement on pore charge and “pH” in confined space by using pH-sensing dyes, fluorescence spectroscopy and in collaboration single molecule fluorescence.

Related Publications:

R. Brilmayer, C. Förster, L. Zhao, A. Andrieu-Brunsen, Recent trends in nanopore polymer functionalization, Current Opinion in Biotech, 2020, 63, 200-209.

M. H. Tran, R. Brilmayer, L. Liu, H. L. Zhuang, C. Hess, A. Andrieu-Brunsen, C. S. Birkel, Synthesis of a smart hybrede MXene with switchable conductivity for temperature sensing, ACS Appl. Nano. Mater., 2020, 3, 5, 4069-4076.

R. Brilmayer, S. Kuebelbeck, A. Khalil, M. Brodrecht, U. Kunz, H.-J. Kleebe, G. Buntkowsky, G. Bayer, A. Andrieu-Brunsen, Influence of nanoconfinement on the pKa of polyelectrolyte functionalized silica mesopores, Adv. Mat. Interf., 2020, 1901914.

M. Stanzel, R. Brilmayer, M. Langhans, T. Meckel, A. Andrieu-Brunsen, FRET-based pH-sensing in mesoporous thin films with tunable detection range, Microporous and Mesoporous Materials, 2019, 282, 29-37.

Formerly involved team members: Robert Brilmayer

Funding: iNAPO

DFG Project (finished)

Selektiv adressierbare Grenzflächen in Papier

The proposed project aims to specifically design especially nanopores in paper. Their influence on paper properties such as capillary fluid- and molecular transport will be systematically understood and controlled.

In this context the proposed project will I) correlate the cellulose fiber characteristics (morphology, length, fiber wall thickness, …) to mesopore formation using sol-gel chemistry, II) prepare paper from pre-functionalized cellulose fibers with defined mesopore structure and functionalization and evaluate them with respect to mechanical stability and their application potential in dependence of functionalization, fiber composition and distribution and medium term with respect to fiber type.

Related Publication:

J. J. Mikolei, M. Stanzel, R. Pardehkorram, R. Lehn, M. Ceolin,and A. Andrieu-Brunsen, Fluid Flow Control in Cotton Threads with Mesoporous Silica Coatings, Advanced Material Interfaces, 2023, 2300211.

J. J. Mikolei, D. Richter, R. Pardehkhorram, C. Helbrecht, S. Schabel,T. Meckel, M. Biesalski, M. Ceolind and A. Andrieu-Brunsen, Nanoscale pores introduced into paper via mesoporous silica coatings using sol–gel chemistry, Nanoscale, 2023, 15, 90949105.

J. Mikolei, L. Neuenfeld, S. Paech, M. Langhans, M. Biesalski, T. Meckel, A. Andrieu-Brunsen, Mechanistic Understanding and Three-Dimensional Tuning of Fluid Imbibition in Silica-Coated Cotton Linter Paper Sheets, Advanced Material Interfaces, 2022, 2200064.

M. Nau & N. Herzog, J. Schmidt, T. Meckel, A. Andrieu-Brunsen & M. Biesalski , Janus‐Type Hybrid Paper Membranes, Adv. Mater. Interf., 2019, 6, 1900892.

Patent: Nau, Herzog, Andrieu-Brunsen, Biesalski DE 102018124255.7, 2018

C. Dubois, N. Herzog, C. Rüttiger, A. Geissler, E. Grange, U. Kunz, H.-J. Kleebe, M. Biesalski, T. Meckel, T. Gutmann, M. Gallei, A. Andrieu-Brunsen, Fluid Flow Programming in Paper-Derived Silica-Polymer Hybrids, Langmuir, 2017, 33, 332-339.

Currently involved team members: J. Mikolaei

Formerly involved team member: N. Herzog, J. Mikolei

Collaboration with PAK-962

Funding: DFG