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Dr. Manuel Tsotsalas




The goal of this research group is to develop novel materials for applications in biotechnology, medicine and membrane separation. The materials are based on a new class of multifunctional network polymers, which are prepared via conversion of a crystalline template structure (metal-organic frameworks, MOF). This novel class of materials combines the advantages of MOF, namely their precise molecular structure and high compositional and structural variability, with the advantages of polymer gels, namely their stability in physiological media and their biocompatibility.
Such hierarchically structured materials, which are optimized at all length scales relevant for cellular activity could offer the necessary micro-environmental cues for cellular proliferation or differentiation in the right place and at the right time, which makes these biomaterials ideal candidates for applications in cell culture, tissue engineering, medical implants or wound dressing.
Freestanding nanomembranes of the precision polymers with a hierarchical composition are prepared by a layer-by-layer (LbL) synthesis on sacrificial substrates. The membranes and thin films can find application in gas and liquid phase separation as well as in organic electronics.
In a third project we work on the synthesis of Covalent Organic Frameworks (COF) by reversible covalent reactions. Such light weight porous polymers are explored for applications in gas storage, catalysis and organic electronics.