Junior Research Group BMBF NanoMatFutur

Led by:  Dr. Nadja-Carola Bigall
E-Mail:  nadja.bigall@pci.uni-hannover.de
Year:  2013
Duration:  4 years

MÜKoN- Materials from Superstructures of Taylor-Made Colloidal Nanocrystal Building Blocks

Nanomaterias have a broad application spectrum already nowadays. They play crucial roles as catalysts for e.g. the splitting reaction of water into oxygen and hydrogen. (A catalyst accelerates chemical reactions without being consumed during the reaction). Nanomaterials as sensors can react highly sensitively and specifically to traces of substances and can be applied for analysis or for environmental monitoring. In biomedicine, nanomaterials are being developed to be transporters for chemical agents in order to specifically therapize target organs.

For optimum utilization of the whole application potential and for achieving a highly specific impact and high activity of the nanomaterials, an efficient control over the size and structure of the nanoparticles is necessary. 

The objective of this project is the synthesis of new functional materials from nanoparticles. In a first step, nanocrystals from metal and semiconducting materials are synthesized under shape and size control in colloidal solution. In a second step, the nanoparticles are transferred to a solid state by meands of selective structuring. From this process, so-called superstructures result, which are highly porous and cross-linked and which exhibit large surfaces and a high catalytic activity. Such materials are also denominated as hydrogels or aerogels. The large application potential of the nanoparticle superstructures will be tested for two examples:

Highly sensitive sensors will be built by depositing superstructures from sensitive metallic or semiconducting nanocrystals onto electrodes. By clever choice of the nanoparticle building blocks sensors result, which upon illumination with light, generate an electical current which enables conclusions about the concentration of a chemical analyte in the surrounding solution. With such sensors, for example heavy metal ions, explosive agents or biomolecules can be detected.

As second application it will be investigated, how, by subtle arrangement of the shape controlled nanocrystals, the efficiency of light triggered catalysts can be optimized e.g. in the water splitting reaction.

 BMBF programme                Werkstoffinnovationen für Industrie
                                                   und Gesellschaft - WING