Research Projects

Here you can download our recent overview articles that have been published under open access license. [more]
Glueing and coating relies on a delicate balance between a number of physical and chemical processes at interfaces. Application development has been mainly based on trial and error, and molecular mechanism are largely not understood. We develop novel and unique molecular design concepts to understand and ultimately design adhesives for a wide field of applications ranging from glueing and coatings of structural materials to biomedical glueing. Our concepts are based on understanding single molecular interactions and their scaling towards macroscopic interaction forces.
Corrosion  of metals  in confinement (crevice corrosion, stress corrosion cracking) remains a serious concern for structural materials.  A real-time  in-situ  visualization of corrosion, and its inhibition within a confined geometry, remains challenging. Using white ligth interfereometry we developed unique ways to study corrosion in confined geometries and to test inhibition of corrosion in confined spaces.
Placing hydrophobes in an aqueous medium gives rise to what is famously known as the so-called hydrophobic interaction. It is a thermodynamic driving force giving rise to interactions and/or self-organization of solvated hydrophobes in water, including protein folding, lipid-bilayer membrane stability and enzymatic catalysis. By virtue of its importance for self-organization of biological matter, the hydrophobic force law and the range of hydrophobic interactions have been debated extensively over the last 40 years. In our group we study in detail how hydrophobic interactions of both single molecules and extended surfaces vary as a function of environmental variables.
Solid electrolyte interfaces are central to reactivity, stability and self-organization in a large range of complementary fields and disciplines. It is widely appreciated, that solid|solution interfaces are central to processes involving cell-to-substrate interaction, self-assembly and self-organization in biological and biomaterials, stability of colloidal dispersions and electrochemical energy storage and electro-catalysis as well as corrosion. In all of these fields understanding, predicting and controlling solid|electrolyte interfaces is of overarching importance to further advance technologic applications of even the most diametrically opposed materials used e.g. in biomedical or energy storage and energy harvesting applications. As such, the structure of the electric double layer (EDL) has always been appreciated as essential to interfacial interactions and reactions, yet a direct experimental probing of the atomistic EDL structure is still one of the most challenging fields in interface science. We utilize force versus distance characteriztics and high resolution imaging to understand the structuring of ions in the EDL.

Friction, Wear and Lubrication

We aim to understand the multiscale nature of wear and friction from the nanoscopic to the micro scale. We perform friction experiments with both AFM at the nanoscale and SFA at the microscale, aiming to bridge these scales. Furthermore, the interfacial structures of the electric double layer are measured in detail in order to study the influence of what is known as hydration lubrication.

Real-time measurement of the mechanical response of Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) upon guest molecule adsorption

We are interested in mechanical properties and the effects of mechanical pressure on the loading capacity of metal organic framworks. With white light multiple beam interferometry we can directly measure expansion/shrinkage of individual MOF crystals upon guest loading/unloading with msec time and Å-dimensional resolution.
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