Rapid developments in the field of material sciences and biofunctional surfaces have inspired one innovation after the other, for example, in sensor technology and optical applications. However, improved methods of characterising the properties of materials are required to research these new, often functional materials and to deploy them in a sensible manner. Researching and refining such methods is the remit of the Application Lab for In Situ Spectroscopy.
The group is concerned with functional materials, such as metamaterials and hybrid materials: materials with artificially created microstructures and nanostructures whose optical properties and adsorption characteristics have been adapted to the application in question. One of the group's core competences is in-situ investigations at solid-liquid interfaces. Such interfaces are key factors for liquid sensors that are used, for example, to detect specific molecules in liquids. These analyses enable the Application lab to examine in detail how the surface of an organic or biofunctional film in a sensor changes when it comes into contact with substances, and how this influences the properties of the surface. The group primarily uses infrared ellipsometry and spectroscopy for this purpose. Together with optical models and simulation calculations, the measurements provide direct access to the optical and structural properties of the materials.