Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

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Research and projects

Summary of the research program

The rich versatility and the variable properties and functions of macromolecules are based on the one hand on a large variety of different monomers but on the other hand on the fact that polymers are able to self-assemble in organized structures, encoded in the chemical sequence of the polymer chains. In simple cases of self-assembly only the connectivity of the chain acts as a constraint, leading to the existence of largely universal properties independent of the specific chemistry. But there are many important open and challenging problems in polymer science which are characterized by strong correlations between local structure and global conformation of the chain. In the CRC TRR 102 we investigate such processes of structure formation and self-assembly of chain molecules, for which the formation of molecular structures and the molecular dynamics are affected in addition to connectivity by constraints like specific internal interactions, external forces, geometrical confinement, crowding or topological restrictions.

Two prominent examples for such processes and central topics of the CRC are crystallization in the area of synthetic polymers and the formation of amyloids in the area of biopolymers. In both cases larger scale structures form, driven by the formation of local molecular order and constrained by the connectivity of the chains. This constraint leads to the fact that the resulting structures are only partially ordered and of nanoscopic size in one or several directions. Both processes carry universal features, but different from crystallization, amyloid formation is connected to specific interaction. In the CRC we study these and other related processes of structure formation and the properties of the resulting structures with the aim to work out and understand the fundamental, underlying physical principles. To achieve this aim we combine expertize from chemistry, experimental and theoretical physics, and biophysics using a large variety of experimental techniques and theoretical approaches based on simulations on different scales and levels of complexity.

Projects:

A01Effects of topological constraints in polymer melts on crystallization and structure formationThurn-Albrecht, Saalwšchter

MLU

A03Crystallization in dynamic and geometricaly constrained supramolecular polymersBinder

MLU

A06NMR Investigations of the Self-Organization and Dynamics of Amyloid Protein FibrilsHuster, Balbach

UL, MLU

A07Intra- and intermolecular structure formation in the presence of specific interactionsPaul

MLU

A08Organization and interactions of eye-lens crystallins: native states and cataract formationSaalwšchter, Balbach

MLU

A09Structure formation and aggregation of solvated peptides and polymers in the presence of ionsSebastiani

MLU

A10Dynamic and Structural Properties of Amyloid Forming and Intrinsically Disordered Polypeptide ChainsKiefhaberMLU
B01Amyloid protein aggregation and fibril formation near interfaces and nanoparticlesAbel

UL

B02Structure and local properties of polymers in contact with ideal surfacesWiddra

MLU

B03Substrate-induced molecular order and nucleation in polymer thin filmsThurn-Albrecht

MLU

B04Nanopatterns of macromoleculesJanke

UL

B07Semicrystalline Homopolymers and Block Copolymers at the Air/Water Interface
and in Langmuir-Blodgett Films on Solid Supports
KreŖler

MLU

B08Broadband Dielectric and IR Spectroscopy to study molecular dynamics and order
in nanometer domains of endfixed polymers
Kremer

UL

B10Interaction of Single Polymer Chains in a Thermophoretic TrapCichos

UL

B11Characterization of the self-assembly process of hydrophobins at interfaces and in solutionHinderbergerMLU
B12Mechanisms of early amyloid formation and the confining influence of macromolecular crowdingOttMLU
B13Probing structural transitions of single-polymer chains with mechanical stressSeidelUL
B14Structure formation in comb-like polymers with rigid backbones under external
constraints: Influence of shear fields and interfaces
BeinerIMWS

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