University of Bremen                                          Hybrid Materials Interfaces Group Fachbreich Produktionstechnik

Conrad Naber Endowed Chair
Hybrid Materials Interfaces
Grenzflächen in der Bio-Nano-Werkstofftechnik







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Main research topics

The HMI group combines multiscale simulations including DFT-based electronic structure calculations, first-principles molecular dynamics, all-atom classical molecular dynamics and coarse-grained dissipative particle dynamics with experimental methods such as atomic force microscopy, circular dichroism spectroscopy and x-ray microscopy to characterize and understand the behaviour of heterogeneous materials.

Bio-hybrid interfaces

We perform atomic-level studies of proteins, nucleic acids, phospholipids and polysaccharides, both as pure biological systems and interfaced with metals, oxides, carbon allotropes and two-dimensional materials. We quantify the strength of the interfacial interactions in terms of adhesion forces and binding free energy and we reveal conformational changes that occur as a consequence of such interactions. This allows us to rationalise and guide the design of novel functional materials and coatings, and to understand the molecular mechanisms at the basis of important biochemical and biological processes. Current research topics include biomineralization, protein glycosylation, micro-RNA structure/function relationships, organic nanofibre formation.

Fibronectin module

FeOx cluster on ferritin

Inorganic hybrids

Combining atomistic and coarse-grained simulations with AFM imaging and force spectroscopy we study the behaviour of inorganic systems composed of heterogeneous phases such as nanoparticle films in a gas or liquid atmosphere, oxide layers growing on functional substrates, mesoporous materials or electrochemical interface systems. Applications comprise the prediction of transport properties in functional two-dimensional materials, the behaviour of battery electrodes, the handling of nanoparticle films for the fabrication of gas sensors and catalysts. Electronic-structure methods at the DFT level and beyond are employed in combination with structural and electrochemical characterization experiments performed by our collaboration partners.

silica cluster through membrane

Electron Density 2D Material

Technical polymer interfaces

As an emerging research line in our group, we investigate the properties of polymeric materials interfaces at the all-atom and coarse-grained levels. This includes the engineering of technical polymers, for instance in the context of thermoplastic welding or thermoplastic/thermoset co-curing, as well as natural polymers such as chitosan, fibrin and collagen, for instance for the fabrication of tissue-engineering scaffolds and drug-delivery systems. We use CD spectroscopy to study changes in the secondary structure of natural fibres upon assembling and employ enhanced-sampling molecular dynamics methods to access the complex conformational phase space of the systems.

AFM image of oxide growth

Entangled Polymer Interface