Multicomponent SystemsWe develop an understanding, methodology and techniques that allow the tracking of the location of individual molecular types in multicomponent solutions, and their importance for interfacial phenomena such as adsorption and wetting synergism, dispersibility, adhesion and lubrication.
Academic studies are often focused on obtaining detailed information from simple model systems, e.g. adsorption studies of a simple surfactant on a model flat and chemically homogeneous surface. In sharp contrast, industrial processes often involve multicomponent solutions interacting with rough and chemically heterogeneous surfaces. We aim to span this gap.
In order to be able to track the location of individual molecular types (free in solution, in solution aggregates or at interfaces) one need to use spectroscopic methods that allow separate and direct detection of each species. Suitable techniques for this purpose are e.g. NMR and total internal reflection Raman spectroscopy. Development of the NMR and Raman methodology to facilitate adsorption studies from multicomponent systems are concrete examples of projects that could be executed in this research platform, since they provide information on the adsorption of the individual components, rather than just the total adsorbed amount as obtained by classical techniques such as ellipsometry and QCM (Quatz Crystal Microbalance).
The use of multicomponent systems to control interfacial properties are also investigated, and priority are given to projects that correlate adsorbed layer compositions with interfacial effects. The research aims at a molecular understanding of synergism at interfaces in terms of functions (e.g. wetting, adhesion, lubrication) in order to address industrial problems, for example in superhydrophobic surfaces.