Polymers

  • “Molecular Bicycle Pedal”: Researchers Present Molecular Switch

    Cover Picture: Photoinduced Pedalo-Type Motion in an Azodicarboxamide-Based Molecular Switch (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 7/2018) © 2018 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim

    Just like a bicycle pedal that can be turned forwards and backwards – this is how the new molecular switch can be described which Dr. Saeed Amirjalayer, from the University of Münster’s Institute of Physics, and his co-authors have now presented in the journal “Angewandte Chemie” (“Applied Chemistry”). The pedal motion is triggered by light.

  • 3D printer inks from the woods

    Rod-like cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) approximately 120 nanometers long and 6.5 nanometers in diameter under the microscope. (Image: Empa)

    Empa researchers have succeeded in developing an environmentally friendly ink for 3D printing based on cellulose nanocrystals. This technology can be used to fabricate microstructures with outstanding mechanical properties, which have promising potential uses in implants and other biomedical applications.

    In order to produce 3D microstructured materials for automobile components, for instance, Empa researchers have been using a 3D printing method called “Direct Ink Writing” for the past year (DIW, see box). During this process, a viscous substance – the printing ink – is squeezed out of the printing nozzles and deposited onto a surface, pretty much like a pasta machine.

  • 3D-microdevice for minimally invasive surgeries

    Figures 1 and 2. Microswimmer CAD and microswimmer micrograph. © MPI IS

    Scientists take challenge of developing functional microdevices for direct access to the brain, spinal cord, eye and other delicate parts of human body. A tiny robot that gets into the human body through the simple medical injection and, passing healthy organs, finds and treats directly the goal – a non-operable tumor… Doesn’t it sound at least like science-fiction? To make it real, a growing number of researchers are now working towards this direction with the prospect of transforming many aspects of healthcare and bioengineering in the nearest future. What makes it not so easy are unique challenges pertaining to design, fabrication and encoding functionality in producing functional microdevices.

  • A Transparent and Thermally Stable Polyamide – 100 Percent Biobased

    From wood waste to high-performance polymers: Terpenes from turpentine are converted to bio-based, transparent and heat-stable polyamides under application of a new catalytic process. Fraunhofer IGB

    The natural substance 3-carene is a component of turpentine oil, a waste stream of the production of cellulose from wood. Up to now, this by-product has been incinerated for the most part. Fraunhofer researchers are using new catalytic processes to convert 3-carene into building blocks for biobased plastics. The new polyamides are not only transparent, but also have a high thermal stability.

  • Additive manufacturing, from macro to nano

    Magnesium part produced with selective laser micro melting.  Photo: LZH

    Creating large structures with high volume or with the highest-possible resolution: The Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) is carrying out research on diverse processes for additive manufacturing, in order to push past the present limits. At the Hannover Messe 2017, at the pavilion of the State of Lower Saxony (hall 2, stand A08), the LZH is presenting the state of the art.

    Light for Innovation – since 1986, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has been committed to advancing laser technology. Supported by the Lower Saxony Ministry for Economics, Labour and Transport, the LZH has been devoted to the selfless promotion of applied research in the field of laser technology.

  • Applications of nanoparticles

    Nanoparticles are particles between 1 and 100 nanometers in size. In nanotechnology, a particle is defined as a small object that behaves as a whole unit with respect to its transport and properties. Particles are further classified according to diameter. Ultra fine particles are the same as nanoparticles and between 1 and 100 nanometers in size, fine particles are sized between 100 and 2,500 nanometers, and coarse particles cover a range between 2,500 and 10,000 nanometers. Nanoparticle research is currently an area of intense scientific interest due to a wide variety of potential applications in biomedical, optical and electronic fields.

  • Bioabbaubare Polymer-Beschichtung für Implantate

    Im mikroskopischen Fluoreszenzbild lassen sich die Strukturen aus Molekülen erkennen, die zu Testzwecken auf die bioabbaubare Beschichtung gedruckt wurden. Im mikroskopischen Fluoreszenzbild lassen sich die Strukturen aus Molekülen erkennen, die zu Testzwecken auf die bioabbaubare Beschichtung gedruckt wurden.  Bild: KIT

    Medizinische Implantate tragen oft Oberflächensubstrate, die Wirkstoffe abgeben oder auf denen Biomoleküle sowie Zellen besser haften können. Allerdings gab es bislang keine abbaubaren Gasphasenbeschichtungen für abbaubare Implantate wie chirurgische Nahtmaterialien oder Gerüste für die Gewebezucht. Eine Polymerbeschichtung, die im Körper wie ihr Träger abgebaut wird, stellen nun Forscher des Karlsruher Instituts für Technologie in der Fachzeitschrift Angewandte Chemie vor. „Unsere neuen abbaubaren Polymerfilme könnten breite Anwendung für die Funktionalisierung und Beschichtung von Oberflächen finden, in den Biowissenschaften über die Medizin bis hin zur Lebensmittelverpackung“, so Professor Joerg Lahann, Co-Direktor des Instituts für Funktionelle Grenzflächen am Karlsruher Institut für Technologie. Gemeinsam in einem internationalen Team stellte er Polymerfilme her, die mit funktionellen Seitengruppen als „Verankerungspunkte“ für Moleküle ausgestattet waren, an die sie Fluoreszenzfarbstoffe und Biomoleküle andocken ließen.

  • Biological Signalling Processes in Intelligent Materials

    Graphic: Wilfried Weber

     

    Scientists from the University of Freiburg have developed materials systems that are composed of biological components and polymer materials and are capable of perceiving and processing information. These biohybrid systems were engineered to perform certain functions, such as the counting signal pulses in order to release bioactive molecules or drugs at the correct time, or to detect enzymes and small molecules such as antibiotics in milk. The interdisciplinary team presented their results in some of the leading journals in the field, including Advanced Materials and Materials Today.

  • Block Copolymer Micellization as a Protection Strategy for DNA Origami

    Polyplex Abstract. cfaed

    Scientists from the Center for Advancing Electronics Dresden / TU Dresden and the University of Tokyo led by Dr. Thorsten-Lars Schmidt (cfaed) developed a method to protect DNA origami structures from decomposition in biological media. This protection enables future applications in nanomedicine or cell biology. The precise positioning of individual molecules with respect to one another is fundamentally challenging. DNA Nanotechnology enables the synthesis of nanometer-sized objects with programmable shapes out of many chemically produced DNA fragments.

  • Building better brains: A bioengineered upgrade for organoids

    Bioengineered organoids or so called enCORs are supported by a floating scaffold of PLGA-fiber microfilaments.

    Scientists for the first time combine organoids with bioengineering. Using small microfilaments, they show improved tissue architecture that mimics human brain development more accurately and allows more targeted studies of brain development and its malfunctions, as reported in the current issue of Nature Biotechnology. A few years ago, Jürgen Knoblich and his team at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (IMBA) have pioneered brain organoid technology. They developed a method for cultivating three-dimensional brain-like structures, so called cerebral organoids, in a dish. This discovery has tremendous potential as it could revolutionize drug discovery and disease research.

  • Engineers at Saarland University Turn Polymer Films into Self-sensing High-tech Actuators

    To showcase their technology at Hannover Messe, the engineers Philipp Linnebach (r.) and Paul Motzki (l.) have come up with a playful way of demonstrating its capabilities. Credit: Oliver Dietze

    They might only be made from thin silicon film, but they can squeeze down hard, deliver a powerful thrust, vibrate or hold any required position. And because they can act as sensors, they are becoming important tools in technical applications. Stefan Seelecke and his team at Saarland University are developing a new generation of polymer film-based engineering components that can be used as continuous switches, self-metering valves, motorless pumps or even as tactile aids for touchscreens. The technology needs neither rare earths nor copper, it is cheap to produce and consumes very little energy and components made using it are astonishingly light.

  • Fighting Forgetfulness with Nanotechnology

    The international research team is working on a treatment on dementia like Alzheimer, which leads to a death of neuronal cells. © shutterstock.com/Naeblys

    About 29 million people around the world are affected by the disease "Alzheimer". In an international collaboration, scientists of the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz together with teams from Italy, Great Britain, Belgium and the USA are now working together on an approach for a therapy. On the one hand, the goal is to understand the processes occurring in the brain that lead to the disease; on the other hand the development of a method for targeted drug delivery.

  • Fire and Flame for New Surfaces

    A flame treatment facility in operation. esse CI

    The printing, coating and bonding of plastics requires the surface to be pre-treated. Flame treatment is one way to achieve this so-called activation. It is currently being used in many industrial sectors and has considerable potential for development. The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP in Potsdam and the Italian company esse CI are uniting their expertise in surface chemistry and machine engineering in order to clearly expand the opportunities provided by flame treatment and to extend the range of surface properties. Interested companies can take part in the development of this technology and help advance its industrialization.

  • First Random Laser Made of Paper-Based Ceramics

    The team used conventional laboratory filter paper as a structural template due to its long fibers and the stable structure. Photo: Institute for Complex Systems /Rome

    Working with physicists from the University of Rome, a team led by Professor Cordt Zollfrank from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) built the first controllable random laser based on cellulose paper in Straubing. The team thereby showed how naturally occurring structures can be adapted for technical applications. Hence, materials no longer need to be artificially outfitted with disordered structures, utilizing naturally occurring ones instead.

  • Fraunhofer IWS scientists are now able to offer n-conductive polymers as processable paste

    Printed TEG (thermoelectric generator) made of p- and n-conductive polymer and silver contact © Fraunhofer IWS Dresden

    The Fraunhofer IWS has made another important step forward with respect to the research on n-conductive polymers for printed electronics. The Dresden scientists succeeded in modifying an n-conductive polymer, already synthesized in 2015, in such a way that it can now be processed as a paste and be printed in a three-dimensional manner.

  • Graphene Enables Clock Rates in the Terahertz Range

    Graphene converts electronic signals with frequencies in the gigahertz range extremely efficiently into signals with several times higher frequency. Juniks/HZDR

    Graphene is considered a promising candidate for the nanoelectronics of the future. In theory, it should allow clock rates up to a thousand times faster than today’s silicon-based electronics. Scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) and the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE), in cooperation with the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P), have now shown for the first time that graphene can actually convert electronic signals with frequencies in the gigahertz range – which correspond to today’s clock rates – extremely efficiently into signals with several times higher frequency. The researchers present their results in the scientific journal “Nature”.

  • Hannover Messe: New hybrid inks for printed, flexible electronics without sintering

    New type of hybrid inks  allow electronic circuits to be applied to paper directly from a pen. Source: INM

    Research scientists at INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials have now developed a new type of hybrid inks which allows electronic circuits to be applied to paper directly from a pen, for example. Flexible circuits can be produced inexpensively on foil or paper using printing processes and permit futuristic designs with curved diodes or input elements. This requires printable electronic materials that retain a high level of conductivity during usage in spite of their curved surfaces. Research scientists at INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials have now developed a new type of hybrid inks which allows electronic circuits to be applied to paper directly from a pen, for example. They are usable after drying without any further processing.

  • Hannover Messe: Successful Small-scale Production of New Hybrid Inks

    Flexible electronics with hybrid inks. Source: INM; free within this press release

    Research scientists at INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials have developed a sinter-free conductive ink based on gold and silver nanoparticles coated with conductive polymers. INM’s hybrid inks enable inkjet printing of conductive structures without any thermal or UV treatments. The inks can be prepared in polar solvents such as water and alcohols, and many of their properties such as their density or viscosity can be customized. Testing samples will be available upon request.

  • How a FAU researcher disassembles molecules

    Prof.Dr. Andreas Hirsch, holder of the Chair of Organic Chemistry II at FAU, has received an ERC Advanced Grant for the second time. FAU/Boris Mijat

    The EU is granting the chemist Andreas Hirsch of Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) 2.49 million euros to conduct research into black phosphorus on the molecular level. The holder of the Chair of Organic Chemistry II at FAU aims to develop new areas for its application, for instance in the fields of electrical energy storage and solar cells. It could make batteries last longer or enable solar cells to produce more electrical energy. This is the second ERC Advanced Grant to be approved for a research project headed by Hirsch. That makes him the first FAU researcher to achieve this feat.

  • Hunting pathogens at full force

    Migrating melanoma cell whose motion towards the top left is supported by formin proteins (green). HZI/Frieda Kage

    HZI researchers elucidate mechanisms of cellular force generation and motility using protein filaments. Cells inside the human body contain a flexible polymer network called the cytoskeleton which consists of actin filaments - and other components - and undergoes constant assembly and disassembly. This turnover of actin filaments allows cells to change shape and move. Such movements are important for example during embryonic development, wound healing but also for a properly operating immune system. To be able to move through tissue, cells need to expend energy and apply force. For example, immune cells advance into all regions of our body to detect and fight pathogens. In turn, though, some pathogens can abuse the cytoskeleton to adhere to or penetrate into cells. Researchers of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) and the Technische Universität Braunschweig have now elucidated the molecular mechanisms that allow cells to move forward effectively, using powerful cell edge protrusions.