Technology Offers Chemistry



Eco-friendly gel polymer electrolytes (GPEs) for energy storage systems with high ionic conductivities

Gel polymer electrolytes (GPEs) have advantageous properties in case of leakage or exposure to higher temperatures when compared to conventional fluid electrolytes. Unfortunately, in case such an energy storage system catches fire, the polymer matrix of the usual gel polymer electrolyte may decompose, resulting in a release of highly toxic hydrogen fluoride. Evan more important, the ionic conductivity of gel polymer electrolytes based on highly fluorinated polymers is in many cases significantly less than that of the underlying fluid electrolyte. Here we present novel freestanding gel polymer electrolytes based on a polyhydroxyurethane matrix which show even higher ionic conductivities compared to usual GPEs reported in the art. In addition, the novel gel polymer electrolytes are eco-friendly. They are free of fluorine and can be produced from bio-based starting materials or biological/renewable (re)sources such as carbohydrates and proteins. The internal resistance being composed of the reaction resistance and the electrical resistance of the GPE-based cell, was significant lower compared to the internal resistance of a reference cell. In particular, ionic conductivities of the novel gel polymer electrolytes, as measured by electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, were up to 20 times higher compared to conventional systems.

 

 

Bio-based, non-isocyanate shape memory polyhydroxyurethanes (SMPHUs) with programmable and switchable shapes

As part of a project funded by the Baden-Wuerttemberg Stiftung gGmbH, scientists at the University of Freiburg succeeded in developing an innovative, relatively simple process that enables sustainable, less dangerous and preferably solvent-free production of smart poly(beta-hydroxy)urethanes (PHUs) using bio-based components.
These shape memory polyhydroxyurethanes (SMPHU) can be used for a wide range of applications – from moldings, coatings and fibers to films, actuators and components used in medical engineering.

 

 

Highly conductive pastes for printable electronic applications and devices

At the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), a new platform concept for the formulation of highly conductive, printable pastes has been developed. Corresponding pastes are free of polymeric or other non-volatile stabilizers and rheology control agents. Nevertheless, rheological properties like low-shear viscosity and yield stress can be adjusted in a wide range. Thus sedimentation /aggregation is prohibited and long-term stability can be guaranteed even for suspensions of high density particles (e.g. Ag, Ni). Also full control of the application behavior in many different printing/coating operations is furnished.

 

 

High-throughput screening system for directed evolution experiments using novel compartments

Scientists at RWTH Aachen University developed a novel screening method substantially improving the finding of favored enzyme variants using the directed evolution technique. The method, an entirely cell-free system, uses innovative compartments, thus enabling the efficient detection of human and toxic proteins.

 

 

Efficient method for ‘Chain Multiplication’ of unsaturated fatty acids - synthesis of ultra long-chain compounds

Currently, there are only very few, costly synthetic routes for the production of ultra long-chain compounds, as they typically rely on tedious multistep reaction sequences.
At the University of Konstanz (in the course of a project funded by the Baden-Württemberg Foundation), an iterative method (any multiplication factor) has been developed that produces terminally functionalized, purely aliphatic compounds through a ‘Chain Doubling’ approach starting from common monounsaturated fatty acids. All starting materials are readily available and the individual steps of the catalytic process do not involve further reagents. Moreover, there is only a small amount of byproducts which makes the method very efficient.
The method described here can be applied for the production of high-melting, purely aliphatic polymers and nanocrystals.

 

 

A strain and a method for high throughput of sugar for microbial conversion into organic synthesis products

By decoupling cell growth and productivity of biosynthesis the new method and associated Escherichia coli strain allow for an increase in productivity by a factor two to three.
This could not only be interesting for pharma industry, e.g. by increasing the capacity of insulation production, but for biotechnological synthesis of succinic acid as well. The demand for succinic acid as a component of plastics such as polyamides or polyesters is estimated to amount to 250,000 tons per year.

 

 

Novel CVD-based growth process for zinc oxide layers

At the University of Ulm, a cost-effective deposition process for zinc oxide (ZnO) layers has been developed that provides very good layer qualities and permits a high growth rate. Source material is zinc oxide, no elementary zinc is required.

Using this innovative CVD-based process, it is possible without the addition of environmentally-harmful additives, to create weakly-conductive  layers, easily etchable sacrificial layers in multi-layer systems, conductive transparent layers (transparent conductive oxide, TCO) and generally conductive contacts or conductor structures on fixed-body substrates such as sapphire, silicon, silicon carbide or gallium nitride. Furthermore, this process is suitable for generating nano- or microstructures for sensor applications, thin-film transistors (TFT on displays), Schottky diodes, and field effect transistors.

 

 

Cutting-edge priming agents and innovative candidate compound screening services

Agronostics Aachen will be an innovative agricultural chemistry start-up operating in the growth market of plant defense priming. Primed plants show enhanced resistance to disease and pests, and increased tolerance to abiotic stress. Taking into account that these threats still destroy ~40% of possible crop yield, defense priming provides a unique opportunity to secure best possible yield.

 

 

Biological Varroose control through interference with reproductive behaviour of Varroa bee mites

Scientists at the University of Hohenheim, Germany, have developed the first biological and bee-friendly Varroose control method. The method exploits the fact, that female mites exude a pheromone which incites the mating behavior of the males.

After isolating the pheromone and identifying its components, followed another breakthrough with the discovery, that single components of the pheromone affect the mating behavior effectively, too. Currently the scientists run successful field tests using oleic acid, a low-priced component, which is unproblematic with regard to food regulations and suitable for application as a spray.

 

 

Efficient and low-cost water purification based on innovative, functional membrane coating

In cooperation with Italian partners, Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences recently developed a new type of anti-fouling coating on membranes with scalable retention to improve the quality of purified water while reducing the costs involved in cleaning, maintaining and replacing the membranes. Pore sizes and thus separation efficiency and chemical properties of the novel PBM coated membrane surface can be individually adjusted to the composition of the water to be purified. The PBM coated ultrafiltration membranes were successfully tested in membrane bioreactor (MBR) systems using real wastewater.

 

 

Direct programmable detection of epigenetic cytosine modifications in DNA using TALEs

Epigenetic modifications at the 5-position of cytosine in DNA provide important clues for diseases such as neurological disorders and a range of cancers. Scientists at the University of Konstanz have now developed a method which allows the direct detection, i.e. without prior chemical modification of the DNA sample, of the epigenetic modification status in the 5-position of cytosine (such as 5mC and 5hmC) in any user-defined sequence. It is a simple and reliable method with high resolution and can be combined with a multitude of detection methods. Detection both in vivo and in vitro is possible.

 

 

Novel cathode material for lithium-sulfur batteries and lithium-ion batteries

At Aalen University, a novel composite material and a production process thereof was developed which makes the structural and material separation of current collector and cathode material unnecessary. The cathode material can be manufactured and formed in a continuous single stage electroplating process without the need to add binding material and electrically conductive particles. The proportion of active material in the cathode can thus be increased. Moreover, the mechanical stability and the efficiency of Li-Ion cells and Li-Sulfur cells improve.

 

 

Cellulose-based micro- and super-microfibres produced as continuous yarn suitable for weaving and knitting

A novel direct-wet-spin process was developed and patented by the German Institute of Textile Chemistry and Chemical Fibres (ITCF) in Denkendorf, which allows for the first time the cost-efficient production of micro- and supermicro-fibres of less than 0.1-0.5 dtex (fibre surface about 1 - 4 m2/g) from cellulose and cellulose-2.5-acetate in the form of a continuous fibre in a single-step process. The fibres can be stored as staple fibres or wound up as a continuous fibre for further processing.

 

 

New macro-porous ceramics and glass filters from capillary suspensions

Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have developed a novel, simple and potentially cost-saving production process for macro-porous ceramics. The process is based on the use of the capillary effect in a three phase suspension of nano- to micro-sized solid particulates. In this manner, it is possible to fabricate ceramics and polymer foams with macro-pores of diameter 50 nm or greater and narrow pore size distribution.

 

 

Novel hybrid fluorescent nanoparticles with outstandingly high light intensity

Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have successfully developed low-cost, fluorescent dyes with especially high light intensities. These inorganic–organic hybrid dyes can be synthesized easily and isolated, stored and redispersed in common solvents (ethanol/water). They can be excited using blue light (UV or blue light from LED) and emit depending on their composition in the blue, green, red or infrared spectrum. Preferred are applications in the field of medical diagnostic and therapeutic, advertising material and safety equipment (fluorescent marker).

In the field of biology and medicine the advantage of the inventive fluorescent dyes are their sufficient biocompatibility and highly specific signals, that don´t overlap with auto fluorescence of organs, cells and organelles. Thus the hybrid fluorescent dyes represent attractive alternatives to the widely used semiconductor quantum dots and rare earth doted oxides or fluorides.