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Novel Applications of Nanoparticles

Nanoparticles are highly attractive for applications in very diverse fields, ranging from chemical-mechanical polishing of wafers in the semiconductor industry to biomedicine, for example in cancer treatment. Many future applications are envisaged, but have not been realized yet, as the nanomaterials need to be optimized for such applications – with respect to their size and shape homogeneity, but especially in terms of their surface chemistry to ensure best stabilization, dispersibility and compatibility and thus the desired effects and properties. The final properties of the target product may be greatly enhanced by an adaptation of the synthesis and functionalization of nanoparticles. Nanocomposites consisting of inorganic nanostructures embedded in an organic matrix, often possess superior properties compared to the individual components. Thus, ultra-hard nanocomposite coatings may be realized, protecting the underlying material from scratching and wear. An optimum compatibility of the nanoparticles with the organic components throughout all steps of processing is an important prerequisite and ensures good optical properties. The image shows nanocomposites with increasing content of ZrO2– nanoparticles of up to 16 wt.-%. The optical properties thereby greatly depend on the surface chemistry of the nanoparticles.
Nanoparticles are also ideal building blocks for the fabrication of thin films (see right image), for application e.g. as sensors, capacitors or other electronic devices. Using pre-fabricated and stabilized ultra-small nanoparticles, crystalline and mechanically stable thin films can be obtained through low-temperature processing, enabling also the use of temperature-sensitive substrates such as polymers.








Left image: Nanocomposites with increasing content of ZrO2– nanoparticles of 0-16 wt.-%, right: thin film dielectric fabricated from ZrO2– nanoparticles.


[1] T. A. Cheema, G. Garnweitner, “Phase-controlled synthesis of ZrO2 nanoparticles for highly transparent dielectric thin films”, CrystEngComm 2014, online.
[2] I.-C. Masthoff, F. David, C. Wittmann, G. Garnweitner, “Functionalization of magnetic nanoparticles with high-binding capacity for affinity separation of therapeutic proteins”, Journal of Nanoparticle Research 2014, 16, Art. No. 2164. Abstract
[3] T. A. Cheema, A. Lichtner, C. Weichert, M. Böl, G. Garnweitner, “Fabrication of transparent polymer-matrix nanocomposites with enhanced mechanical properties from chemically modified ZrO2– nanoparticles”, Journal of Materials Science 2012, 47, 2665-2674.
[4] T. Ninjbadgar, G. Garnweitner, A. Börger, L. M. Goldenberg, O. V. Sakhno, J. Stumpe, “Synthesis of luminescent ZrO2-:Eu3+: nanoparticles and their holographic sub-micrometer patterning in polymer composites”, Advanced Functional Materials 2009, 11, 1819-1825.
[5] G. Garnweitner, L. M. Goldenberg, O. V. Sakhno, M. Antonietti, M. Niederberger, J. Stumpe, “Large-scale synthesis of organophilic zirconia nanoparticles and their application in organic-inorganic nanocomposites for efficient volume holography”, Small 2007, 3, 1626-1632

Team Members

Current Projects
Synthesis and processing of tailored AZO nanocrystals more

Fractionation of Nanoparticles by Preparative Gel Electrophoresis more

Thin nanoparticle films for cathode composites in all solid state batteries more

ElektroBak – Innovative Materials and Concepts for Microbial Electrochemical Systems more

Preparation of multifunctional nanocomposite thin films made of nanosized building blocks more

Characteristics of a nanoparticulate coating based on the process chain more

Finished Projects
Process technology of the synthesis of metal oxide nanoparticles by nonaqueous sol gel methods more

Biocompatible iron-oxide nanoparticles for the in-situ magnetic separation of bioproducts more

Small-Molecule Stabilization of ITO Nanoparticles more

AiF – CleanCoat: Development of transparent, photocatalytically active coatings on polymer substrates with long-term stability more

Protein purification with functionalized magnetic nanoparticles more