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International Helmholtz Research School
of Biophysics and Soft Matter

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IHRS BioSoft faculty members

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Annette M. Schmidt

Within material science, the rational design of materials with cumulating structural complexity is of increasing importance. Inspired by the self-organization of molecular and nanoscopic structural units that is of outstanding impact in natural and living systems, it is a challenge to control the hierarchical equilibrium and non-equilibrium structures on different length and time scales – from molecular dimensions via pre-organized nano-objects to materials with novel property spectra. By rational design of the internal interactions, among these covalent bonds and dynamic molecular and particular interactions, it is the goal to create structurally and functionally novel materials with interactive properties such as responsiveness, self-healing, and transport.

Research portfolio of Annette M. Schmidt

In this context, we use methods from colloid and polymer chemistry, and take advantage of a broad spectrum of analytical methods, that allow a deeper insight into the structural composition and the mechanical, thermal, and magnetical properties of the systems. By tailored build-up of nanostructured systems from inorganic and organic building blocks, the typical properties of metallic or metal oxidic nanoparticles can be combined with the easy functionalization and multifaceted physical properties of soft matter. Current research focus areas:

  • manufacture of functional macromolecules and (hybrid) nanoparticles, and development of synthetic methods for surface modification and tailored preparation of hybrid materials;
  • investigation of the static and dynamic, magnetic and thermal properties and of the self-organization of soft matter, such as (micro-)emulsions, liquid crystals, colloids, polymers and nanocomposites;
  • realization and understanding of novel responsive materials and systems for applications as actors, sensors, catalysts and in biomedical environments.