Research in the Department Research in the Department

Experimental groups that form the Department work in molecular engineering, i.e. organisation of molecules with optimal molecular architecture into larger ensembles (from molecular aggregates to condensed matter phases) that promote collective properties interesting for advanced nano- and bio-technological applications.

Molecular nanofilms

We study surface and interfacial phenomena in macromolecular systems - synthetic polymers and biomolecules. An example would be self-organisation of blends of molecules with different functionalities that allows for one-step solution deposition of films with ordered domains. Such domains could form complementary elements of organic solar cells, "plastic" chips, plates for protein microarrays. The self-organisation processes are controlled using Self-Assembled Monolayers and soft lithography. Within two large EU projects we analyse multimolecular films that recognize proteins or DNA, and are applied in biosensors. Moreover, we observe interesting biomedical properties of coatings and micropatterns made of "intelligent" (i.e. environmental stimuli-sensitive) or peptide-mimetic polymers that enforce specific behaviour of proteins and cells. More information...

Magnetism of materials

Our research topics also include experimental investigations of magnetic properties of molecular crystals. Such materials are amazing due to the diversity of their magnetic behaviours. We observe photomagnetism (switching of the magnetic properties by light), magnetic sponge behaviour (the influence of solvent molecules on magnetic properties), and we search for magnetic relaxations and quantum tunnelling in low-dimensional systems. Another topic concerns electronic properties of complex ruthenium oxides. Our measurements are performed down to very low temperatures achieved using liquid helium and helium-3. This is possible owing to the helium liquefaction station. More details...

Liquid crystals

Properties of wide range of mesogenic compounds, from lyotropic to thermotropic, composed of banana-shaped and rod-like molecules (also chiral, forming ferro- and antiferroelectric phases) are studied. We analyse how the molecular architecture influences - at specific thermodynamic conditions - polymorphism, permittivity and molecular dynamics. Read more...