Hybrid- and nanomaterials

The combination of inorganic and organic building blocks on molecular level or the nanometer scale usually leads to new materials with properties lying in between the starting materials or with completely new properties. A smart combination of materials can lead to completely new properties. Typical examples are optical transparent polymer materials with high scratch and thermal resistance or organic polymers made conductive by inserting inorganic components. A major challenge with the synthesis of these substances is the homogeneity of the prepared material. This can only be achieved by distinctly controlling a set of various reaction parameters. The systematic detection of structure-property relations is crucial for a controlled preparation these materials. In our research, we mainly focus on the controlled synthesis of defined building blocks on the nanometer scale and new matrix materials and on studying their properties.

Therefore, the basis of our research is investigating the modes of bonding between organic moieties on inorganic substrates, for example by coordinative or covalent interactions. By appropriate model systems these interactions can be investigated by classical chemical-analytical techniques like NMR or IR spectroscopy. The obtained results allow a better understanding of systems on larger scales e.g. nanoparticles. Finally, the combination of different preparative approaches to these materials and their characterisation with various techniques from chemistry, physics and the material sciences allows an understanding of structure-property relationships up to the macroscopic properties of the respective material. In this subject area, we are currently focusing on the fabrication of self-healing materials and the synthesis of novel encapsulation systems for opto-electronic applications. In both cases, we use approaches in which a polymer backbone is altered to achieve the desired properties by incorporation of molecular or nanoparticulate species.





In the field of self-healing materials we focus on nanocomposites with inorganic nanoparticles implementes into a polymer matrix. We succesfully implemented a switchable function by chemically functionalising the interface of the two materials, allowing to repair mechanically damaged material by exterior heating. We are currently exploring further methods of damage repair by inductive heating.


In the field of new encapsulation systems for the opto-electronic use, highly transparent materials are required. These are to be found in the material class of silicones and their derivates. By applying a new method, we managed to build materials with high optical transparency combined with high thermal and photo-stability. An additional advantage of these materials is that they are - in contrast to commercially available products - single component materials which do not need cross-linking catalysts but manage cross-linking by a simple thermal process.



Related literature:

Hybrid Materials: Synthesis, Characterization, and Applications, G. Kickelbick (Hrsg.), Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2007.

Book chapters:

  • Thermally remendable polymers, T. Engel, G. Kickelbick, in Self-Healing Polymers, Edited by W.H. Binder, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2013, pp. 153-169.
  • Nanoparticles and Composites, G. Kickelbick in The Sol-Gel Handbook - Synthesis, Characterization, and Applications, (3-Volume Set), (Eds. D. Levy, M. Zayat) Wiley-VCH, 2015, Weinheim, Germany, pp. 227-239.


  • Concepts for Incorporation of Inorganic Building Blocks into Organic Polymers on a Nanoscale, G. Kickelbick, Progr. Polym. Sci.200328, 83-114. doi: 10.1016/S0079-6700(02)00019-9
  • Homogen und doch so heterogen, Nanokomposite: anorganisch + organisch, G. Kickelbick, Chemie in unserer Zeit  2005, 39, 46-53. doi:10.1002/ciuz.200400339
  • The search of a homogeneously dispersed material-the art of handling the organic polymer/metal oxide interface, G. Kickelbick, J. Sol-Gel Sci. Technol. 2008, 46, 281-290. doi: 10.1007/s10971-008-1731-2
  • Hybrid Materials – Past, Present and Future, G. Kickelbick, Hybrid Materials 2014, 1. doi:10.2478/hyma-2014-0001

Scientific papers:

  • Furan-Modified Spherosilicates as Building Blocks for Self-Healing Materials; T. Engel, G. Kickelbick; Eur. J. Inorg. Chem. 2015, 1226-1232. doi:10.1002/ejic.201590027
  • Double Reversible Networks: Improvement of Self-Healing in Hybrid Materials via Combination of Diels-Alder Cross-Linking and Hydrogen Bonds, S. Schaefer, G. Kickelbick, Macromolecules 2018, 51, 6099-6110. doi:10.1021/acs.macromol.8b00601
  • Diels-Alder Reactions on Surface-Modified Magnetite/Maghemite Nanoparticles: Application in Self-Healing Nanocomposites, S. Schaefer, G. Kickelbick, ACS Appl. Nano Mater. 2018, 1, 2640-2652. doi:10.1021/acsanm.8b00308
  • Effect of polysiloxane encapsulation material compositions on emission behaviour and stabilities of perylene dyes, N. Steinbrueck, M. Koenemann, G. Kickelbick, RSC Adv. 2018, 8, 18128-18138. doi:10.1039/C8RA01700J
  • Perylene polyphenylmethylsiloxanes for optoelectronic applications, N. Steinbrueck, G. Kickelbick, J. Polym. Sci., Part B: Polym. Phys. 2019, 57, 1062-1073. doi:10.1002/polb.24861
  • Platinum free thermally curable siloxanes for optoelectronic application - synthesis and properties, N. Steinbrueck, S. Pohl, G. Kickelbick, RSC Adv. 2019, 9, 2205-2216. doi:10.1039/c8ra09801h