Research Prof. Pich

  Research Prof. Dr. Pich Copyright: © Prof. Pich et al., Angewandte Chemie - International Edition

The research of Andrij Pich's group focuses on the synthesis of macromolecules with tailored structure as well as architecture, using various sophisticated polymerization techniques.

A key aspect is the synthesis of functional molecular building blocks. These include monomers, macromonomers and prepolymers for controlled design of polymers and colloids. In addition to polymerization in homogeneous systems or heterophase polymerization, he also uses precipitation polymerization and microfluidic reaction processes. For this purpose, he draws inspiration from biological systems in his research and focuses especially on the chemical design of macromolecules that respond to external stimuli, self-assemble and whose degradation can be programmed.

Working Group at the DWI - Leibnitz-Institute for Interactive Materials e.V.

Annual Report of the DWI - Leibniz-Institute for Interactive Materials e.V.

Collaborative Research Centre SFB 985 "Functional Mikrogels and Microgel Systems"

 

Research Topics

The major expertise of Andrij Pich's group lies in the synthesis of nano- and microgels as well as their use for the fabrication of soft, interactive materials with active properties. Such properties include shape changes, recognition of specific structures, or the possibility of regeneration for use in catalysis, plant breeding, biomaterials, and coatings.

The focus hereby is on:

 

Adaptive Soft Colloidal Networks: Chemical Design of Nano- and Microgels

Aqueous nano- and microgels are unique macromolecular architectures with extraordinary properties, like stimuli-responsiveness, surface-activity and deformability that originate from the colloidal network-like structure swollen in the solvent.

Our research is focused on:

  • engineering of crosslinks in colloidal gels (covalent, weak covalent, supramolecular)
  • integration of molecular switches to obtain stimuli-responsive microgels (pH, light, electric field, machanical force)
  • regulation of microgel shape and internal stucture by coacervation and polymerization-induced self-assembly
  • investigation of polymerization kinetics and microgel formation mechanisms
  • development of new synthesis approaches using impinging jet reactors and flow chemistry
  Chemical Design of Nano- und Microgels Copyright: © Prof. Pich  

 

Cooperation Partners

  • Prof. Walter Richtering, Institute for Physical Chemistry, RWTH Aachen University
  • Prof. Igor Potemkin, Physics Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University
  • Dr. Andrea Scotti, Institute for Physical Chemistry, RWTH Aachen University
  • Prof. Nikhil Kumar Singha, Rubber Technology Centre, Indian Institute of Technology Kharapur
  • Prof. Alexander Mitsos, Process Systems Engineering (AVT.SVT), RWTH Aachen University
  • Prof. Kai Leonhard, Institute of Technical Thermodynamics (LTT), RWTH Aachen University
  • Prof. Svetlana Santer, Institute of Physics and Astronomy, University of Potsdam

 

Reactions in Compartments: Bio-Inspired Catalyst Systems

Abiogenesis is a natural evolutionary process of increasing complexity involving molecular self-replication, self-assembly and autocatalysis. The localization of chemical reactions in compartments was the essential step in abiogenesis and the understanding of its fundamental principles leads to the better understanding of the origin of life. Compartmentalization allows enhancement of the reaction rates, increase of selectivity and allows modulation of complex chemical transformations in aqueous environment.

We focus on the development of adaptive colloidal catalysts by tailored integration of organo-catalysts, metal complexes, proteins and nanoparticles into microgels. The systematic variation of the number and localization of catalytic centers as well as the chemical structure of compartments in microgels allows design of highly-active catalysts for aldol reactions, C-C coupling and polymerization reactions in homogeneous phase and at liquid-liquid interfaces.

  Picture_Reactions in Compartments Copyright: © Prof. Pich  

 

Cooperation Partners

  • Prof. Sonja Herres-Pawlis, Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, RWTH Aachen University
  • Prof. Stefan Hecht, DWI - Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials e.V. and Institute of Technical and Macromolecular Chemistry, RWTH Aachen University
  • Prof. Igor Potemkin, Physics Department, Lomonosov Moscow State University
  • Dr. Roman Nebesnyi, Research and Development Department, Lviv Polytechnic National University
  • Dr. Roman Vasiuta, Catalytic Center (CAT Center), RWTH Aachen University
  • Dr. Christoph Gürtler, Head of Catalysis and Technology Incubation, Covestro Deutschland AG

 

Living Materials: Soft Matter Systems with Sensing and Regeneration Ability

Most important characteristics of Life are order, metabolism, response to stimuli, reproduction, homeostasis, regeneration/growth/development and evolutionary adaptation. The transfer of these principles to materials design may revolutionize our world and deliver new technologies for soft robotics, information technologies and biomaterials.

We combine enzymes, bacteria and cells with functional polymers and hydrogels to engineer complex materials. These materials are able to sense their environment, respond to the physical and chemical stimuli and perform chemical transformations undergoing shape modulation, programmed assembly/disassembly or regeneration by growth.

  Picture_Living Materials Copyright: © Prof. Pich  

 

Cooperation Partners

  • Prof. Laura De Laporte, DWI - Leibnitz-Institute for Interactive Materials e.V. and Research Area Advanced Materials for Biomedicine, RWTH Aachen University
  • Prof. Ulrich Schwaneberg, Institute for Biotechnology, RWTH Aachen University
  • Prof. Sabine Neuß-Stein, Institute of Pathology and Helmholtz Institute for Biomedical Engineering, BioInterface Group, RWTH Aachen University
  • Dr. Anja M. Boos, Clinic for Plastic Surgery, Hand and Burn Surgery, Uniklinik RWTH Aachen
  • Prof. Georg Conrads, Oral Microbiology and Immunology, Uniklinik RWTH Aachen
  • Dr. Martin Zenke, Institute for Biomedical Technologies, Uniklinik RWTH Aachen

 

Repurposing Nature’s Building Blocks: Bio-based Polymers and Sustainable Functional Materials

Nature created through the evolutionary approach numerous molecular architectures, which can be used as building blocks to fabricate complex materials with unique properties. This approach reduces the utilization of fossil resources and ultimately leads to the new sustainable materials, which are biocompatible, degradable and environmentally safe.

In our research we focus on two families of natural building blocks: polyphenols and polysaccharides. Polyphenols, like tannins are present in each cytoplasm of all vegetable cells and can be easily obtained by extraction from the green tea or grape shells. Tannins can interact with variety of natural and synthetic polymers by the combination of hydrophobic forces and hydrogen bonds. Thereby, these exhibit antibacterial and antifungal properties. Polysaccharide, like Pectin is localized in primary cell walls of terrestrial plants and can be extracted from fruits and vegetables. Pectin exhibits interesting ability to bind reversibly metal ions in aqueous solutions. Chitosan is the structural element of chitin in the exoskeleton of crustaceans and exhibits antibacterial properties.

In our work we use polysaccharides for the fabrication of colloidosomes and functional fibers, synthesis of non-toxic flame retardants for plastics and textiles and design of active bio-interface coatings for medical devices.

  Picture_Nature Building Blocks Copyright: © Prof. Pich  

 

Cooperation Partners

  • Prof. Lothar Elling, Institute for Biotechnology and Helmholtz-Institute for Biomedical Engineering, RWTH Aachen University
  • Prof. Regina Palkovits, Institute of Technical and Macromolecular Chemistry, RWTH Aachen University
  • Prof. Ulrich Schwaneberg, Institute for Biotechnology, RWTH Aachen University
  • Dr. Felix Jakob, Institute for Biotechnology, RWTH Aachen University
  • Prof. Matthias Wessling, Chemical Process Engineering (AVT), RWTH Aachen University

 

Smart Carriers: Sustainable Delivery Systems for Medicine and Agriculture

Controlled molecular transport is important for many biological and technological processes. Site-specific delivery and triggered release of small molecules is highly desired for different applications, but still very challenging, in particular if this should take place in complex systems.

We develop carrier systems based on microgels for delivery small molecules, proteins and nanoparticles. Microgels serve as containers, protectors (T, pH, enzymatic attack) and cargo for transport and triggered release of the payload molecules. In our research we focus on the development of tailored microgel carriers that can bind specifically to the target and on-demand release anticancer drugs, antibacterial agents, fertilizers and pesticides a controlled fashion.

  Picture_Substainable Delivery Systems Copyright: © Prof. Pich  

 

Cooperation Partners

  • Prof. Andreas Herrmann, DWI - Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials and Chair of Macromolecular Materials and System, RWTH Aachen University
  • Prof. Ulrich Schwaneberg, Institute for Biotechnology, RWTH Aachen University
  • Dr. Felix Jakob, Institute for Biotechnology, RWTH Aachen University
  • Prof. Xiangyang Shi, State Key Laboratory for Modification of Chemical Fiber and Polymer Materials, International Joint Laboratory for Advanced Fiber and Low-Dimension Materials, College of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Donghua University, Shanghai
  • Prof. Henner Hollert, Department of Evolutionary Ecology and Environmental Toxicology, Goethe University Frankfurt
  • Prof. Uwe Conrath, Institute of Biology 3, RWTH Aachen University
  • Prof. Claudia Knief, Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation (INRES), University of Bonn
  • Dr. Shyam Pariyar, Institute of Crop Science and Resource Conservation (INRES), University of Bonn
  • Prof. Georg Groth, Institute of Biochemical Plant Physiology, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
  • Prof. Holger Gohlke, Institute of Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
  • Prof. Georg Petschenka, Institute of Phytomedicine, University of Hohenheim
  • Dr. Aline Koch, Institute of Phytomedicine, University of Hohenheim