Bio-inspired microlens arrays
The University of Konstanz, the Max-Planck-Institute of Colloids and Interfaces and two Korean institutes develop a natural process for the synthesis of microlens arrays
The development of highly complex microlens arrays via the natural way and with remarkably simple components: Chemists of the University of Konstanz and the Max-Planck-Institute of Colloids and Interfaces have developed a process which highly simplifies the production of microlens arrays. Based on calcium carbonate (chalk), the researchers generate naturally grown surface layers with an ordered position of micrometer sized half spherical chalk lenses. So far, micro lens arrays could only be generated with a sophisticated lithographic process on basis of plastics. The development of the new synthesis process was achieved in cooperation with the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources and the South Korean university KAIST.
For the generation of the optically fully functional microlens arrays, the researchers exclusively need a saturated calcium solution, carbon dioxide from air and a broadly available surfactant (a soap molecule), which regulates the formation of the microlens structure. The process is by far more cost effective and simple than existing production methods. „It is remarkable that structure formation occurs by itself in water at room temperature – completely similar to the archetype Nature. This is an example for the successful application of biological principles for the generation of advanced optical elements completely without use of energy or toxic chemicals“, summarises Konstanz chemist Prof. Dr. Helmut Cölfen the advantages. The new process in which the micro lens arrays equally “grow” in a natural way was developed starting from a natural archetype: The so-called brittlestar, a relative of the starfish, uses a chalk microlens array on its skin to change colour according to the lighting conditions.
A microlens array is an optical field with a large number of micrometer sized miniature lenses placed closely together. Microlens arrays are applied for miniaturisation of optical systems, focussing of light with a precision of a millionth meter and to work with very small wavelengths. Amongst other applications, microlens arrays are applied for cell phone cameras but also in medical technology. The new process is also suitable to generate anti-reflex coatings, which are for example known from eyeglasses. Further advantages of the new method are that the chalk lens systems have shorter focal lengths compared to the so far exisiting plastic lens arrays and that the lens systems can be transferred to other surfaces by a simple dip coating. Furthermore, living cells like the microlens surface which enables future biomedical research combined with optics.
„It is truly remarkable how simple the generation of the microlens arrays is: All applied materials are common and biocompatible chemicals, energy supply is not necessary. The reaction takes place at room temperature in water according to a principle which Nature uses for Biominerals“, explains Helmut Cölfen. „Beside all these technical advantages, the amazing fact that such highly complex structures like a microlens array can be generated using comparatively simple molecules makes this process highly interesting for the scientist“, Cölfen outlines further perspectives for science.
Methods from Bioinformatics may be used to improve the ways you analyze
and understand your own data. To bridge the knowledge gap between
experimentally working scientists and experts in data analysis,
professors from four faculties (Informatics, Biology, Chemistry,
Mathematics) invite PhD and master students from Biology and Chemistry
to discuss their own topics with them. The discussion will be informal:
the two experts attending each consultation will ask you about your
project, try to identify weak spots in your data analysis, and may
suggest better ways to obtain the desired (or more) information from
All /you/ have to bring is a few slides describing your topic, the wish to discuss them, and about an hour of your time. It is anticipated that problems may be followed up after the consultation.
In order to prevent that several students come on the same date, please send email to Kay.Diederichs@uni-konstanz.de to make an appointment.
M. Berthold , O. Deussen, K. Diederichs, T. Exner, M. Junk, D. Merhof,
SS 2010 : Tuesday 14:15-15:45
Graduate School Chemical Biology
Graduate School Chemical Biology: The call for fellowships starting in October 2008 is now open. Please visit www.chembiol.uni-konstanz.de for further information.30.05.08
Fellowships in Graduate School Chemical Biology
Konstanz Research School Chemical Biology now offers PhD fellowships starting in April 1, 2008. Please apply until February 24, 2008. For more information see www.chembiol.uni-konstanz.de08.02.08
Relaunch of the WebsiteThe homepage of the Department of Chemistry has been completely renewed. English content will be added continuously.10.05.07
New Appointment: Dr. Sebastian Polarz
Beginning January 1, 2007, Dr. Sebastian Polarz has joined the Department of Chemistry as a full professor for Solid-state Chemistry and Bio-inorganic Chemistry. The research in the group of Prof. Polarz focusses on functional inorganic materials. The synthesis of materials, their characterization with state-of-the-art analytical techniques for solid matter and the research on potential applications are combined to a whole. Two areas are of particular importance: (A) The synthesis of nanoporous, organic-inorganic hybrids and their use as confining reaction fields. (B) The generation of metal oxide materials with complex spatial structure resulting from molecular precursors.12.03.07
New Appointment: Prof. Dr. Gunnar Jeschke
Beginning October 1, 2006, PD Dr. Gunnar Jeschke will join the Department of Chemistry as a full professor for Physical Chemistry, Structure and Dynamics of Matter. The principal direction of Dr. Jeschke's research is the development of electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) techniques for distance measurements in the nanometer range and for the characterization of molecular dynamics in the picosecond to microsecond range. By combining these methods with spin probe techniques they are applied to biomacromolecules such as membrane proteins and to synthetic polymers and supramolecular assemblies.08.08.06
New Appointment: Prof. Dr. Andreas Zumbusch
Beginning September 1, 2006, PD Dr. Andreas Zumbusch will join the Department of Chemistry at the University of Konstanz as a W3-Professor for Physical Chemistry, Spectroscopy and Kinetics. The research fields of Dr. Zumbusch cover the development of methods for the optical spectroscopy and microscopy of single molecules and of new non-linear optical microscopy schemes. His group is applying these techniques in investigattions of biophysical and material scientific problems, such as intracellular transport or the dynamics of proteins and polymers.04.08.06
New Appointment: Prof. Dr. J. S. Hartig
On January 1, 2006 Dr. Jörg Hartig was appointed as Lichtenberg-Professor (Junior-Professor) for Chemistry of Biologically Functional Materials at the Department of Chemistry, University of Konstanz. Dr. Hartig is funded by the Volkswagen-Foundation within the Lichtenberg-Program. The research aims at gaining directed control of structural and functional properties of nucleic acids. For example, it is planned to render the phenomenon of RNA interference accessible to fine-tuning. RNA interference represents a highly efficient technique for knocking down gene expression.20.01.06
New Appointment: Prof. Dr. H. Möller
On November 2, 2004 Dr. Heiko Möller was appointed to the Juniorprofessorship for NMR Spectroscopy on Complex Molecular Systems at the Department of Chemistry of the University of Constance. Dr. Möller works on structure and dynamics of biological macromolecules and their complexes with ligands ranging from small molecules to other biopolymers. NMR spectroscopic methods are complemented by molecular modelling and biosensor techniques. In addition to an improved understanding of biomolecular interactions, Dr. Möllers research aims at designing Ligands that interfere with the function of their macromolecular targets.01.11.04
New Appointment: Prof. Dr. St. Mecking
On March 1, 2004 PD Dr. Stefan Mecking from the Freiburg Materials Research Center and Institute for Macromolecular Chemistry at the Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg took up a C4 professorship for Chemical Materials Sciences in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Konstanz. The research fields of Dr. Mecking lie in the areas of syntheses and the properties of disperse systems. Focussed aspects of his research work are catalytic aqueous polymerizations generating nanoparticle dispersions; catalytically and biologically active hybrides of metal nanoparticles with amphiphilic polymers, as well as the recovery and recycling of catalytically active metal complexes.01.02.04
New Appointment: Prof. Dr. A. Marx
On January 15, 2004 PD Dr. Andreas Marx at the Kekulé-Institut für Organische Chemie und Biochemie, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn has taken up a C4-professorship of Organic Chemistry / Cellular Chemistry at the Department of Chemistry of Konstanz University. The research areas of Andreas Marx are in the chemical biology of nucleic acids and proteins that interact or modify nucleic acids. The methods applied in the group cover a wide area ranging from the targeted synthesis of nucleosides, oligonucleotides, and nucleic acids to the directed evolution of proteins and other biopolymers with new properties and functions for extended applications01.01.04
New Appointment: Prof. Dr. T. Exner
The new position of a Juniorprofessur "Theoretische Chemische Dynamiks" (assistant professor "theoretical chemical dynamics") was appointed to Dr. Thomas E. Exner on October 1st, 2003. His research interests lie in theoretical investigations on proteins. In his group, a new quantum chemical method for large biomolecular systems as well as empirical approaches in the field of molecular recognition are developed. Additionally, new visualization techniques are implemented in the program MOLCAD (Prof. J. Brickmann, TU Darmstadt).