DWI Interactive Materials - Team and Research Approach

The DWI is following its own interdisciplinary route within its mission to "Interactive Materials", Three out of the six research directors of DWI belong in a broad sense to the field of polymer sciences. The remaining three directors are one bioengineer focusing on protein engineering, another bioengineer concentrating on enzyme process engineering and, a process engineer focusing on membrane technology. Furthermore, the DWI team is complemented by two research groups of young scientists. This unique combination of polymer science, soft nanotechnology, bioengineering and process engineering opens up new possibilities for soft materials, whose active and interactive properties are achieved by combining synthetic and biological elements and are organized and powered via controlled transport processes, chemical reactions, molecular re-organizations and relaxation processes.


The research concept "Interactive Materials" includes, in particular, the development of novel biohybrid and water-based high-performance materials. Such materials and active properties are however not only interesting from a scientific point of view, but will also reach profound economic impact and will play an increasingly greater role in many fields.


The strongly advanced understanding of molecular and supramolecular mechanisms in biology, medicine, physics, chemistry and engineering is the basis to enable researchers to expand material properties to increasingly complex and advanced functionalities, able to tackle present and future challenges in materials research with attractive approaches.


These challenges are being addressed in the following three long-term strategic program areas:


- Tailored Building Blocks: Polymers, Proteins, Particles


- Interactive Interfaces and Fluid-controlled Structure Formation


- Functional Systems: Selective Transport and Conversion.


A strong linking element between these areas is the focus on components, processes and applications in water. This calls for the development of new chemical transformations and bio-hybridization methods and the creation of complex systems and grown structures from these components via self-organization to precisely order functionalities or to generate new functionalities from a hierarchical structuring.