Synthetic porous materials that consist of spatially well-arranged functional subunits are promising candidates for applications in the fields of gas storage or separation, catalysis, sensing or membranes. Metal-organic and covalent organic frameworks (MOFs and COFs) or molecular cage compounds are examples of current interest for such functional materials. Efficient synthesis of these complex molecular architectures can be achieved by repetitive cross-linking of small organic building blocks under dynamic reaction conditions. Thereby, structure and topology of the assemblies are directly encoded in the symmetry and structure of the building blocks and the respective coupling reactions, thus allowing for a molecular design approach to facilitate tailor-made optimization of materials properties.
In order to develop novel porous materials, we implement organic scaffolds possessing unusual geometries, for example tribenzotriquinacenes or fullerene hexakisadducts, into complex hierarchical assemblies. Furthermore, we aim for new design paradigms beyond traditional synthetic protocols including self-sorting of multiple component mixtures, precise control of morphology on different length scales, and stimuli-responsive systems enabling a spatiotemporal control of assembly processes and function. In the long term, we are among for the development of materials for applications in areas such as gas storage and separation, energy production and storage, sensing or specific host-guest interactions.
Current research activities in our group are focused on the following topics: