FOR 1583

DFG Research Unit 1583

Members of the physics and chemistry departments of the TU Darmstadt form the core of a newly founded DFG researcher group about hydrogen-bonded liquids subject to interfaces of various hydroaffinities. This project is funded by the DFG with 2.7 Mio. € for the next three years.

The aim of this new initiative is to investigate the structure, dynamics, and phase behavior of hydrogen bonded liquids in confined systems with different size, suppleness, and hydroaffinity.

The spokespersons for this new researcher group, which is divided into 9 different sub-projects are Prof. Vogel (Physics) and Prof. Buntkowsky (Chemistry). Besides several scientists of the TU Darmstadt, groups from from the GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research, TU Dortmund, and FU Berlin are involved.

Project Description:

“Hydrogen-Bonded Liquids Subject to Interfaces of Various Hydroaffinities”

Hydrogen-bonded liquids exhibit a number of extraordinary properties, rendering them very interesting for basic- and application-oriented research. Well known examples are the anomalies of water, in particular, the density anomaly, which is essential for life.

Interfaces strongly affect the properties of liquids. For example, the fluidity of water in nanoscopic confinements depends on the hydroaffinity and size of the environment. The ability to control the behavior of hydrogen-bonded liquids in restricted spaces plays an enormous role for the regulation of biological processes and for the miniaturization in nanotechnology.

Research unit FOR 1583 combines modern techniques of preparation, characterization, and modelling to analyze the interplay of structure, dynamics, and phase behavior of hydrogen-bonded liquids in confinements of different size, hydroaffinity, and softness and for various external conditions, e.g., in a broad temperature range.

In general, the properties of a liquid in a confinement and in the bulk can differ because of the effects of interfaces and of finite size. The former result from specific interactions at the boundary surface, while the latter occur when the size of the confinement is comparable to structural and dynamical length scales of the system. To ascertain the relevance of these effects and to gain a fundamental understanding, we prepare mesoporous host materials with functionalized surfaces in research unit FOR 1583. Moreover, a large number of experimental and theoretical methods are combined to analyze the behaviors of the guest materials. Specifically, we use methods of scattering, spectroscopy, calorimetry, and microscopy as well as approaches of simulation and modelling. In this way, we investigate structure and dynamics on a large variety of length- and time scales so as to, on the one hand, obtain fundamental insights into structure-dynamics relations on a microscopic level and, on the other, trace back macroscopic properties to molecular mechanisms.

The investigated confinements cover specially modified surfaces of mesoporous silicates, ion track channels in polymer foils, and droplets of micro-emulsions. The complexity of the enclosed liquids will be varied systematically. The used liquids range from simple water, water-alcohol, and water-peptide mixtures to complex polymer and protein solutions.