Interfacial Systems Chemistry - Weak Binding, Strong Effect
How do individual molecules form molecular aggregates, e.g. dimers, trimers or clusters and macroscopic ice crystals? How many water molecules are needed in order to produce the smallest drop of acid? The interactions of molecules via weak intermolecular forces is of great significance, both in chemistry and also in biochemistry. These "non-covalent" interactions are decisive for the formation of molecular crystals, the physicochemical properties of liquids, the efficiency of reactions and the dynamism of proteins. Chemical bindings on the other hand are responsible for the formation of stable structures, be it the synthesis of new cage structures, self-replicating systems or protein structures.
Hundreds and thousands of interacting molecules
A joint approach of all chemical disciplines is describing complex chemical systems in a "bottom-up approach": the objective is to transfer the microscopic knowledge gained in recent years on the basis of small systems to complex chemical units with hundreds and thousands of interacting molecules. Simulations play a central role in this context. Whereas each specialised science traditionally has developed its own phenomenological description models, the microscopic approach taking place in the Research Department guarantees a direct transfer to various specialist areas. Central interdisciplinary questions which are being treated are concerned with the following subjects: 1) an understanding of solvency-controlled and solvency-determined chemical processes as well as design of new solvents; 2) dynamism of biomolecules and their significance with a view to biomolecular functions; 3) heterogeneous catalysis on liquid/solid borders and electrochemical reactions; 4) tailor-made materials.