OFFLINE_Nanoscale Energy and Structural Materials

The working group develops nanoscaled inorganic materials for use in energy conversion related R&D and nanocomposites in general.

The aim of our activities is an optimized nanoparticle system for incorporation into different matrices.

Based upon our expertise in nanoparticle synthesis and nanochemistry the particle system’s surface chemistry is modified via ligand exchange or encapsulation to yield the needed specific properties for the respective application. Going beyond nanoparticles in pure solvents for laboratory experiments, having a printable ink system consisting of our optimized nanoparticles in a matrix was found to be highly beneficial when discussing future projects and talking to customers. Printing techniques are ranging from screen printing via inkjet printing towards 3D printing.

In the area of electrocatalysis we’re focusing on the advancement of Pt based nanoparticles for use in (direct methanol) fuel cells.

While on the one hand we’re optimizing the particles’ performance by further reducing Pt content, tailoring particle shape as well as the particles’ cristallinity, we’re also looking at optimizing production processes and the associated costs. Here, our goal is to establish a synthesis route for producing high performance nanoparticles in high quantities by replacing the standard batch procedure.

For our R&D activities on spectral energy converter systems we’re employing rare earth (RE) doped nanoparticles for use in lighting (e.g. LED phosphors), photovoltaics, as biomarkers as well as security taggants.

In addition to the optical properties of such RE nanoparticles, we look towards co-doping of these particles, thereby adding a new way of signal detection, e.g. magnetic properties to, the particle systems. These dual probes are highly sought after in the field of life sciences and biomedical applications.

Last but not least we develop and optimize nanoscale materials such as oxides, sulfates, vanadates, as well as phosphates. These particle systems’ properties make them interesting for various applications in a polymeric matrix, i.e. nanocomposites, exploiting their optical properties: scatter centers, contrast agents, high refractive index material etc.

Our research topics

Energy conversion materials

  • (noble)metal nanoparticles for use in fuel cells (DMFC, PEM)
  • rare earth (RE) doped nanoparticles for use as spectral converter material

Structural materials

  • oxides and sulfates as fillers and structure giving additive
  • rare earth (RE) doped nanoparticles as label (optical taggant)

Our services

  • development and manufacturing of (noble) metal nanoparticles and alloyed material for use in electrocatalysis
  • development and manufacturing of rare earth (RE) doped nanoparticle systems as spectral energy converters in LED/lighting, photovoltaics, security taggants, as well as biolables
  • development and manufacturing of nanoscale oxides, phosphates, sulfates, and vanadates
  • tailor-made modification of the nanoparticles’ surface chemistry for their specific application via ligand exchange, encapsulation, mounted on carbon based structures
  • formulation of inks for the material systems’ implementation using various print techniques (inkjet, screen printing, gravure printing, 3D printing)
  • characterization of nanoscale material (TEM, REM)
  • execution of feasibility studies, contractual research projects and consulting services

Our equipment

  • wet lab for synthesis (batch, using Schlenkline technique)
  • 20-L stirred tank reactor
  • 1-L autoclave
  • flow reactor for use of producing nanoparticles (under development)
  • spin coater and dip coater for thin film manufacturing
  • dry lab for characterization including thermo gravimetric analysis (TGA), dynamic light scattering (DLS), cyclovoltammetry (CV) using a rotating disc electrode (RDE)
  • glovebox facility (three four-gloves boxes featuring a fridge, spin coater, heating stage, optical measurement stage, high vacuum metal vapor coating apparatus under nitrogen atmosphere)