SFB 1176 • Molekulare Strukturierung weicher Materie

Research Programme

Project Area A • … along the chain

The overall goal of project area A is the precise control of the polymer sequence upon polymerization. As result of this control, polymers with either a defined chain length or incorporated functional groups for chemical or physical applications at defined positions will be obtained. The desired chemical functionalities are for example the attachment of reversible folding points. Physical functionalities are donor-acceptor units within a conjugated chain for energy conversions. The challenges with project area A thus range from synthetic chemistry to some preliminary application of the polymers in the areas of catalysis and optoelectronics.


A1 Reversible Single Chain Folding of Macromolecules via Non-Covalent Interactions (Barner-Kowollik, Luy)

A2 Precision Metallopolymers: From Chains to Precision Nanoparticles

(Roesky, Barner-Kowollik)

A3 New Approaches towards Sequence defined Synthetic Macromolecules (Meier, Roesky)

A4 Tailor-made Sequence-Controlled Polymer-Dye Conjugates for Controlling Excition Dynamics (Lemmer, Bräse, Meier)

Project Area B • … on the surface

The overall goal of project area B is to achieve control over and to gain a detailed understanding of a two dimensional arrangement of macromolecules. One aim is the establishment of sequence-control orthogonal to a surface by functionalization of a surface in a step-wise fashion with unimolecular, cross-linked polymer layers. This will allow to tune the surface properties orthogonal to the surface (i.e. pore-sizes, polarity, or functionality) and has possible applications in many areas. Moreover, the design of surfaces offering functional group gradients as well as the precise placement of functional groups or highly defined macromolecules onto the surface is investigated. This will, for instance, be achieved by chemical vapour deposition or novel photolithographic approaches. In combination with an advanced surface characterization platform, project area B will thus establish novel surface structuring tools for highly advanced technologies, ranging from electrode modification to applications in catalysis. 


B2 Sequence-Controlled Growth of Cross-Linked Polymer Layers on Surfaces (Scheiba, Théato, Meier)


B3 New Functionalized and Patterned Surface Coatings via Cyclophane-based Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) Polymerization (Bräse, Lahann)

B4 Microstructured Surfaces for Spatially Resolved Catalysis (Barner-Kowollik)

Project Area C • ... in space

The overall goal of project area C is to achieve control over the three dimensional arrangements of macromolecules by obtaining a detailed understanding of the chemical processes. We aim for molecular structures with defined chemical and physical functionalities. The structures range from hydro-gel like networks with large cavities to rigid porous structures having smaller voids. These novel materials will be assembled mainly either by template-guided methods or in reversible, thermodynamically driven approaches. Using the methodologies developed in Areas A and B together with techniques for a precise vertical assembly, e.g. the layer-by-layer approach, full control over three dimension is achieved. The soft materials will be –


C1 Hydrogels for Separation of Ions based on defined Pore Structure (Barner, Wilhelm)

C2 Highly Cross-Linked Polymers for Functional Multi-Layers (Bräse, Colsmann)

C3 Optimized Polymer-Based Alignment Media for NMR-Spectroscopy (Luy, Meier)

C5 Synthesis of Covalently Linked Organic Frameworks via Reversible Nitroxide-Exchange Reaction (Tsotsalas)

C6 Preparation of Sequence-Controlled Covalent Networks (COFs) via Cross-Linking of Metal-Organic Frameworks (Bräse, Wöll)

Project Area Q • ... cross-sectional area

Innovative analytical techniques and a fundamental theoretical understanding of macromolecules are essential for the entire SFB 1176 and form the basis for project area Q. The correlated determination of the three main characteristics of a polymer (size, chemical composition, and functional groups) in a single experiment by combining size exclusion chromatography (SEC), (quantum cascade laser-) infrared spectroscopy (IR), and low field NMR is in the focus of analytical development as well as NMR methods determining important dynamic and transient process. Molecular modeling based on novel efficient simulation methods on the atomic and mesoscopic scale is a further key goal that will allow the characterization of structure and folding properties of high precision macromolecules. Finally, the ab initio calculation of properties and reactions in ground and excited states and the development of tools for the detailed quantum chemical computation of NMR parameters will provide the basis for understanding optically and catalytically active compounds, metal-organic and covalent-organic frameworks, metallopolymers and paramagnetic systems.



Q1 Multi-Dimensional SEC-Correlation-Spectroscopy (Wilhelm)

Q2 NMR-Methods for the Characterization of Polymers (Luy, Wilhelm)

Q3 Molecular Modeling of Structure Formation in Soft Matter (Wenzel, Weigend, Kozlowska)


Project Area Z • surface analysis platform



Z1 Surface Analysis Platform: X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) and Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (ToF-SIMS) (, Ehrenberg, Wöll)






SFB 1176
Overview of Project Areas
Project Area A ... along the chain
Project Area B ... on the surface
Project Area C ... in space
Project Area Q ... Characterization
Project Area Q ... Molecular Modeling
Surface analysis platform