Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New materials: Growing polymer pelts

19.11.2018

Vapor deposition of a liquid crystal layer with reactive molecules provides customized nanofibers for different applications -- publication in Science

Polymer pelts made of the finest of fibers are suitable for many different applications, from coatings that adhere well and are easy to remove to highly sensitive biological detectors.


These are nanofibers with different directions of rotation.

Illustration: Kenneth Cheng, University of Michigan

Researchers at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) together with scientists in the United States have now developed a cost-effective process to allow customized polymer nanofibers to grow on a solid substrate through vapor deposition of a liquid crystal layer with reactive molecules. The researchers report on their innovative method in the journal Science. (DOI: 10.1126/science.aar8449)

Surfaces with specially aligned fibers are quite abundant in nature and perform different functions such as sensing, adhering and self-cleaning. For example, the feet of geckos are covered with millions of hairs that allow them to adhere to surfaces and pull off again very easily.

The synthesis of such surfaces from man-made materials opens up new perspectives for different applications. However, methods previously available for the production of polymer pelts on solid bases have been costly. What's more important, the size, shape and alignment of the fibers can only be controlled to a limited extent with conventional methods.

Researchers at the Institute of Functional Interfaces (IFG) of KIT, as well as at the University of Michigan, the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, have now developed a simple and therefore cost-effective process that allows polymer pelts to grow in a self-organized way.

The research group led by Professor Joerg Lahann, Head of the Department of New Polymers and Biomaterials at KIT's IFG and Director of the Biointerfaces Institute of the University of Michigan, present the new process in the journal Science.

First of all, they cover a carrier with a thin layer of liquid crystals, which are substances that are liquid, have directional properties and are otherwise used especially for screens and displays (liquid crystal displays - LCDs).

Next, the liquid crystal layer is exposed to activated molecules by vapor deposition. These reactive monomers penetrate the liquid crystalline layer and grow from the substrate into the liquid in the form of fine fibers.

As a result, polymer nanofibers are created that can be customized in length, diameter, shape and arrangement. The complex but precisely structured polymer pelts formed by the fibers are attractive for many different applications, especially for biological detectors, bioinstructive surfaces that interact with their environment, and for coatings with new properties.

This also includes surfaces with dry adhesion properties similar to those of gecko feet, although adhesion in nanofibers is based on a special spatial arrangement of the atoms in the molecules (chirality - handedness).

The German Research Foundation (DFG) funded the work at the "Molecular Structuring of Soft Matter" Collaborative Research Center (CRC). In the 3D Matter Made to Order (3DMM2O) cluster of KIT and the University of Heidelberg, which will be funded in the Excellence Strategy by the federal and state governments from January 2019, the focus will also be on customized materials.

The 3DMM2O Excellence Cluster, in which the Head of KIT's IFG, Professor Christof Wöll, is involved as one of the main researchers, combines natural and engineering sciences, focusing on three-dimensional additive production technologies from a molecular to macroscopic level.

Original publication:

Kenneth C. K. Cheng, Marco A. Bedolla-Pantoja, Young-Ki Kim, Jason V. Gregory, Fan Xie, Alexander de France, Christoph Hussal, Kai Sun, Nicholas L. Abbott, Joerg Lahann: Templated Nanofiber Synthesis via Chemical Vapor Polymerization into Liquid Crystalline Films. Science, 2018. DOI: 10.1126/science.aar8449

As "the Research University in the Helmholtz Association", KIT creates and conveys knowledge for society and the environment. The aim is to make significant contributions to global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility and information. To achieve this, around 9,300 employees are working together on a broad disciplinary basis in natural sciences, engineering, economics, humanities and social sciences. KIT offers research-oriented studies to prepare its 25500 students for responsible tasks in society, economy and science. Innovations at KIT bridge the gap between knowledge and application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity and the preservation of our natural resources.

This press release is available on the internet at: http://www.sek.kit.edu/presse.php

Media Contact

Monika Landgraf
presse@kit.edu
49-721-608-47414

 @KITKarlsruhe

http://www.kit.edu/index.php 

Monika Landgraf | EurekAlert!
Further information:
https://www.kit.edu/kit/english/pi_2018_147_new-materials-growing-polymer-pelts.php
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aar8449

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Topological material switched off and on for the first time
11.12.2018 | ARC Centre of Excellence in Future Low-Energy Electronics Technologies

nachricht Proteins imaged in graphene liquid cell have higher radiation tolerance
10.12.2018 | INM - Leibniz-Institut für Neue Materialien gGmbH

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

Im Focus: Researchers develop method to transfer entire 2D circuits to any smooth surface

What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.

Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...

Im Focus: Three components on one chip

Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.

Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

Expert Panel on the Future of HPC in Engineering

03.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Innovative Infrared heat reduces energy consumption in coating packaging for food

12.12.2018 | Trade Fair News

New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

12.12.2018 | Information Technology

Obtaining polyester from plant oil

12.12.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>