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Chemie und Materialwissenschaften

Joint Research Group Freiburg-Strasbourg: "Implementation of Light-Powered Nanomachines into Polymer Bulk: From Fundamentals of Active Matter to Functional, Life-Inspired Polymer Materials"

Prof. Dr. Andreas Walther (Universität Freiburg); Prof. Dr. Nicolas Giuseppone (Universität Strasbourg)

Molecular machines can generate mechanical work from chemical fuels or light at the nanoscale and are able to produce new functions by energy transduction on higher length scales. In cells, biomolecular machines participate for instance in the copy of the genetic code, in various transport processes, in the synthesis of ATP, but also in the actuation of our muscles up to the macroscopic scale.

Scientists have recently designed and gained control over the first artificial molecular machines that function as isolated individual units (Nobel Prize for chemistry 2016). We believe that it is now timely and of crucial interest to integrate such artificial nanomachines into material science. The emerging active materials should be able to demonstrate adaptive mechanical properties (e.g. for damping), or contract (e.g. for actuators and robotics) when their integrated nanomachines are fueled by an external source of energy in an out-of-equilibrium fashion.

The goal of our project is to develop concepts for the integration of light-driven nanomachines into polymer bulk materials and develop the field of far-from-equilibrium, active polymer bulk materials (“active plastics”). Key objectives include to (i) find generic synthetic pathways for an efficient integration of nanomotors into polymer bulk, (ii) understand their fundamental operational principles under light irradiation, and (ii) capitalize on this understanding with material systems displaying new levels of active, adaptive and life-like properties.


Joint Research Group Freiburg-Nagoya:  "Multicomponent Supramolecular Catalysts for Sustainable Chemical Synthesis"

Prof. Dr. Bernhard Breit (Universität Freiburg); Prof. Dr. Takashi Ooi (Nagoya Universität)

Chemistry in general and Organic Synthesis in particular is an enabling science, which is in many cases the basis for innovation and development in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry and beyond. The development of an environmentally benign, energy saving, sustainable and cost efficient new quality of organic synthesis is more acute than ever. Catalysis in organic synthesis can be an ideal solution to these problems. Hence, the development of ever more efficient and selective catalysts and catalytic reactions for important synthetic transformations in organic synthesis is at the forefront of molecular sciences and at the heart of this joint research project. Specifically new multicomponent supramolecular catalyst systems shall be developed which tackle so far unsolved reactivity and selectivitiy problems in organic synthesis in order to provide a more sustainable chemical synthesis. Based on this common research project the research groups of Profs. Ooi and Itami at Nagoya University and the group of Prof. Breit at Freiburg University will establish an exchange program for Master and PhD students, which are involved in this project. Additionally, an international symposium shall be organized that will bring together world-leading scientists in the field of multicomponent supramolecular catalyst systems. This collaboration will strengthen the ties between Nagoya University and the Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg in particular between the departments of chemistry. Furthermore, it could become the basis for further joint academic projects such as e.g. the establishment of an international research training group cofunded by DFG and JSPS in the future.