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General research activities
The synthesis, characterization and modification of nanoscale materials and their subsequent processing represents a key technological challenge of this century. Zero- (quantum dot), one- (nanowire) and two-dimensional materials (film) often have unique optical, electronic, or mechanical properties, which render them very attractive for technical applications in optoelectronics, photovoltaic devices and catalysis.
There are two general methods to produce nanostructured materials, the so-called top-down and bottom-up strategy. The bottom-up synthesis makes use of molecular starting reagents - so-called precursors - with tailor-made chemical and physical properties, which are subsequently transformed to the desired nanoscale materials. Since the optical and electronic properties of given materials strongly depend on their size and shape, they can be tuned by using different synthetic techniques.
Our interdisciplinary research projects focuses on the synthesis, structure and reactivity of organometallic compounds as well as their transformation to the corresponding nanoscale materials, whose chemical and physical properties are investigated in close collaborations with physicists and engineers.
Synthesis of organometallic compounds
Our preparative research works preferably focuses on organometallic main group element and transition metal compounds, with particular emphasis on the synthesis and reactivity of low-valent organometallic compounds.
We investigate the deposition of thin films through MOCVD processes (metal organic chemical vapor deposition) as well as ALD processes in specifically-designed reactors. Moreover, the synthesis of nanoparticles and 1-D materials by gas phase processes and wet-chemical methods in organic solvents as well as in ionic liquids (IL) is studied. Of particular interest are metals and metal oxides as well as semiconducting (AlSb, GaSb) and thermoelectric materials (Bi2Se3, Bi2Te3).
The morphology, crystallinity and composition of the materials is investigated by several in-house techniques such as EDX, REM, AFM and XRD. Additional analytical methods such as TOF-SIMS, XPS, AES, SAM, Raman and TEM are applied in close cooperation with physicists and material scientists of the University of Duisburg-Essen and the Center for Nanointegration Duisburg-Essen (CeNIDE) as well as in the Interdisciplinary Centre for Analytics on the Nanoscale (ICAN), which combines devices, methods and expertise for analysis at the nanometer scale.