Project Area 2: Structure and Properties (Experimental)

To characterize the nano- and microstructres and the associated micro- and macroscopic properties of our amphiphilic model networks on multiple lengthscales, a multitude of experimental techniques will be used in concert.  First, on local network-mesh scales, we will identify and quantify connectivity defects by multiple quantum NMR spectroscopy.  Second, on scales of several ten to hundreds of nanometers, we will identify and quantify potential network inhomogeneities, primarily those based on nano- or microphase separation in differently polar solvents, by light and neutron scattering.  On top of these structural characterizations, we will characterize the network viscoelastic mechanics from microscopic and macroscopic perspectives by indentation atomic force microscopy and oscillatory shear rheology, partly further supplemented by microrheology based on dynamic light scattering.  Furthermore, we will quantify the permeabilities of the network gels in fully or partially swollen states by monitoring the diffusivity of differently polar tracer molecules, macromolecules, and nanoparticles by fluorescence recovery after photobleaching and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy.