General research interests
Our research group works in the field of supramolecular materials at the department of organic chemistry of the University of Duisburg-Essen. In the past five years we have gained strong expertise in synthesis and characterization of supramolecular liquid crystals (Introduction to liquid crystals), polymers and hybrid materials. Furthermore, we are interested in the design of photo-responsive and photonic materials as well as in fluorescent mesogens for sensing applications (see Figure 1). Supramolecular materials are obtained by molecular self-assembly of pre-tailored building blocks, held together by non-covalent forces such as hydrogen (HB) or halogen bonds (XB). The reversibility of these non-covalent interactions allows dynamic reorganization of the supramolecular structures as response to changes in the environment, which gives rise to the development of responsive materials. The properties of supramolecular materials result not only from the combination of the molecular building blocks, it also strongly depends on the supramolecular architecture of the assembly and the intermolecular forces between the individual building blocks. This complex interplay of non-covalent interactions makes the prediction of the properties of supramolecular materials challenging. In order to tackle the challenges in the design and synthesis of novel functional materials our group developed a modular supramolecular approach which enables systematic studies of the structure property relationships and at the same time provides a platform for tailor-made materials for various applications via simple self-assembly of the molecular entities. Therefore, hydrogen-/halogen-bond donors are combined with different acceptors to yield the functional assemblies.
“A Modular Approach towards Functional Supramolecular Aggregates – Subtle Structural Differences Inducing Liquid Crystallinity” – M. Pfletscher, C. Wölper, J. S. Gutmann, M. Mezger, M. Giese,* Chem. Commun. 2016, 52, 8549-8552.