The research group Materials Chemistry is working on the synthesis of inorganic substances and inorganic-organic hybrid materials starting from molecular precursors, e.g. oxides (SiO2, TiO2, Al2O3, etc.), phosphates (LiMPO4, M = Mn, Fe), carbons, etc., but also organically modified materials (silsequioxanes). The focus lies on investigations of synthetic pathways starting from the liquid phase, including sol-gel or hydrothermal methods combined with self-organization processes leading to nanostructured particles, powders, monolithic (bulk) materials and thin films. In addition, gas-solid displacement reactions that preserve the macroscopic structure (pseudomorphic reactions) are being studied. The main research thrust is on porous materials and substances with high specific surface areas that are suitable, e.g., as electrode materials (lithium-ion batteries, fuel cells), catalyst supports and adsorbents or in separation processes.
Starting from a thorough chemical analysis of tailor-made precursors, the structure and composition of the resulting synthetic materials is investigated to obtain a deeper insight in synthesis-structure- property relationships. The main characterization techniques that are used are sorption methods, thermal analysis, different spectroscopic measurements, X-ray diffraction as well as electron microscopy studies.