Our research is focused on nanocarbon materials. We are producing and characterizing new carbonaceous materials and work on their controlled surface modification for a wide range of applications.
Nanodiamond and the class of bucky diamond and multishell fullerenes (nanoonions, which consist of concentric fullerene shells with increasing size towards the outside) have recently found considerable interest in many fields of research as shown by numerous publications.
The particular interest results mainly from the size of the single aggregates, which is in the range of a few nanometers. Due to this particle size both modifications show interesting properties completely different from those of the "classical" materials diamond and graphite.
Especially the chemical inertness and mechanical stability as well as the expected interesting electronic properties contribute to the fascination of these novel carbon materials. Additionally, other properties such as large particle surface, inherent fluorescence and surface reactivity add to the attractiveness of these carbon allotropes. Recently, the luminescence from lattice defects in nanodiamond became a major topic as its non-blinking and non-bleaching properties make it ideal for bioimaging and other applications.
The goal of our work is to produce, purify and characterize macroscopic amounts of functional nanodiamond and nanoonions. Therefore, we are developing efficient techniques for the production of mono-dispersed carbon nanoparticles and their colloidal solutions. Furthermore, the surface functionalization of these nanoparticles is a main focus of our work. Reacting them with various organic and biological moieties yields new, tunable materials with interesting mechanical, chemical and physical properties. Especially, nanodiamond functionalized with biologically active groups are tested for applications such as drug delivery, sensing etc. Other projects deal with the development of nanodiamond-bound reagents, catalysts, enzymes and initiator groups. Due to its biocompatibility and chemical inertness nanodiamond is a promising candidate for various applications in vivo and in vitro.
For the characterization of our materials we are using a variety of chemical and physical techniques such as HRTEM, EELS; EDX, XPS, XRD, FTIR, UV/Vis, TGA, NMR, combustion analysis etc.
We also work on synthetic and computational projects dealing with the surface structure and electronic properties of nanodiamond and defined model compounds and the potential influence of functionalization with organic and organo-metallic groups.