Nanomaterials - NAM -

Nanostructuring of materials provides access to new combinations of physical properties. In this field, the group's current focus is on sol-gel-based nanoporous materials which have, both, a three-dimensionally interlinked solid phase and a three-dimensionally interconnected pore phase. Parameters which can be adjusted with regard to different applications are the chemical composition of the solid phase (currently: silica, organic/inorganic hybrids, organic materials, and carbons derived therefrom), the total porosity, the average pore size and pore size distribution, the specific surface area, and the properties of micropores ( < 2 nm) present.

In this field, the Nanomaterials group is involved in the following topics:

  • Synthesis of materials in monolithic and powder form as well as of thin layers composed of nanoporous inorganic, hybrid organic/inorganic, or organic materials (including precursors of synthetic carbons), and composites derived therefrom
  • Characterisation of nanoporous materials and development of novel or adapted analysis methods particularly suitable for the characterisation of nanoporous materials
  • Modelling of nanoporous materials
  • Applications for nanoporous materials in electrochemistry, thermal insulation, adsorber/filter

Head of Group:
Dr. Gudrun Reichenauer
Magdalene-Schoch-Straße 3
97074 Würzburg
Tel.: +49 931 70564-328
Fax: +49 931 70564 -600

Assistant Head of Group:
Dr. Christian Scherdel
Magdalene-Schoch-Straße 3
97074 Würzburg
Tel.: +49 931 70564-315
Fax: +49 931 70564 -600

Services & Equipment


Provision of model materials

  • Synthesis of nanoporous materials (as powders, monoliths, gradients, composites) as model materials for systematic research on the influence of structural parameters (e.g. specific surface area, micropore properties, meso- or macropore size, porosity) on the properties in a target application (e.g. thermal insulation, frequency dependence of the electrical storage capacity, ...)


  • Thermal post-treatment of materials under a variety of atmospheres at up to 1,250 or 1,800 °C (under argon atmosphere)

Structural characterisation

  • Porosity (micro- and mesoporosity)
  • Pore size distribution
  • Specific surface areas (total, external)
  • Particle sizes, also in dispersions or other two-phase systems
  • Density measurements of the non-porous phase with helium pycnometry
  • Typical appearances (visualisation of the structure)
  • Chemical composition

Determination of

  • Vapour isotherms (water and other vapours)
  • Gas permeation (including gas mixtures) through barrier films, sealings, and porous materials


  • Methods for characterising electrochemical systems, determination of specific capacities and frequency-dependent resistances


  • Analysis of gas composition up to an atomic mass of 200 (in combination with various equipment)
  • Determination of mechanical properties of gels (Young's modulus, Poisson's ratio) and small (including irregularly shaped) solids



  • Sol-gel synthesis laboratory
  • Autoclaves for supercritical drying, system for defined ambient pressure drying
  • Tube and chamber furnaces for processes in air or defined atmosphere (up to 1,250 °C) and under inert gas (up to 1,800 °C)

Structural characterisation

  • Scanning electron microscope with EDX, option for electron-beam lithography, hot stage up to 1,500 °C, tensile/compression testing module
  • Gas adsorption systems with optional sample holders for in-situ dilatometric analysis (gases and vapours)
  • Helium pycnometry
  • Dynamic light scattering for analysis of particles sizes < 6 μm
  • • Small- and wide-angle X-ray scattering (structures < 100 nm, suitable for solids, powders, and systems in liquids; method also suitable for in-situ measurement)
  • Beam bending on liquid gels

Water uptake & gas transport

  • Precision balance for determination of water uptake and water vapour diffusion
  • Climate chamber with balance (water vapour sorption kinetics in plates)
  • Gas permeation equipment for analysis of gas transport through porous materials
  • Setup for determination of solution diffusion in barrier films/sealings


  • Cyclic voltammetry
  • Impedance spectroscopy (10 μHz – 250 kHz)
  • Constant current cycling
  • Glovebox (organic electrolytes)
  • Cells for half and full cell measurements (with in-situ dilatometry option)
  • 4-point setup for determination of electrical conductivity

Further analytics

  • Mobile mass spectrometer for gas analysis (mass numbers up to 200 amu)
  • Ultrasonic time-of-flight measurements for determination of Young's modulus

ZAE Bayern

We work at the interface between knowledge-based basic research and applied industrial research. Under the motto "Excellent Energy Research - Excellent Implementation", we realize complete innovation packages that build on synergies between generation, storage and efficiency measures.

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