Institute of Functional Interfaces

M.Sc. Benedikt Sapotta


3D-Fabrication of SURMOFs


Metal organic frameworks (MOFs) are highly porous, crystalline materials composed of inorganic building units and organic molecules (linkers). While the majority of reported MOFs are synthesized as particles by hydrothermal methods, research at IFG is focused on the preparation of ultrathin MOF-coatings on various substrates i.e. the synthesis of surface mounted metal organic frameworks (SURMOFs). Highly ordered SURMOFs are of special interest for new applications in sensor technology, optics and photonics, as well as biotechnology.

Up to now the various dipping, electro-spinning or spraying techniques applied for the layer-by-layer synthesis of SURMOFs have been manually or semi-automatic. In addition, the applied process parameters have been based on experience and laborious test series, resulting in an excessive consumption of time and resources.

This Ph.D. project aims at automizing the SURMOF preparation routine by microfluidic means. For this purpose, optimal operation windows for the individual process parameters will be determined by developing a sophisticated computational model which will incorporate fluid mechanics, heat/mass transfer and chemical reaction kinetics. Preliminary testing will provide the required material parameters. Once manufactured, the microfluidic cell will be tested for the preparation of 3D-structured SURMOFs using maskless photolithography (digital light processing and/or direct laser writing) together with photocleavable linker molecules.



Figure 1: Schematic Assembly of a SURMOF

       Figure 2: Microfluidic concept

Bachelor and Master graduation projects (Bachelor-/Masterarbeit) are available at any time.  At present I can offer projects related to 3D-printing together with solvent/polymer interaction (bleeding, swelling, etc…), development of a surface cleaning + etching methodology for SURMOF-growth, immobilization and activity of enzymes inside large-pored MOFs, … If interested, feel free to contact me.