Materials Chemistry is an interdisciplinary research program of the Department of Chemistry compiling research on organic, inorganic, polymer and structural chemistry. The research in the department of chemistry covers all aspects from basic chemistry research (synthesis, understanding and characterization) to material applications (utilization in electronics, functional materials and everyday consumables).
Thin films and nanostructured materials are needed in all fields of modern technology from microelectronics to medical applications and corrosion protection. The research team in the department of chemistry is in a worldwide leading position in developing ALD chemistry and forms a main part of Finnish Centre of Excellence in ALD. The emphasis in the ALD research is in thin film materials needed in future generation integrated circuits, but also have applications in energy technologies, optics, surface engineering and biomaterials. Inorganic nanofibers are synthesized by electrospinning and electroblowing techniques and nanoporous materials are made by anodization.
Soft materials. Functional polymers and bio-based materials are becoming an integral part of modern society. The variety these materials and their applications is wide, ranging from everyday consumables (like textiles) to controlled drug release and diagnostic applications. Modern synthetic chemistry allows for development of a new era of polymeric materials which self-assemble in solid state or in liquids, making it possible to construct intelligent (nano)devices and materials. Also, novel environmentally benign chemistry has allowed possibilities for dissolution and chemical modification of biopolymers to produce for example textiles, films and non-wowen products with designed properties. Further, “smart” polymers which react to changes in temperature, pH, electric field, or light are being intensely studied.
Biomass utilisation - Woody biomass is strategic for the Finnish economy but is, in fact, a key core development area for the future sustainability of mankind. Through the production of bio-based fuels, medicines, and materials (e.g. textiles, construction materials), an in-depth understanding of biomass structure and chemistry is required. This is the basis of the Biomass Utilisation cluster. There is a strong focus on analytics, in particular NMR. Fundamentals include study of the crystallinity, chemistry, morphology and hence processability of biomass. The development of novel solvents (e.g. ionic liquids), as a platform for biomass processing and analytics is key for advancing our understanding of the fundamentals and application. Key applications of interest are production of textile fibres, films, novel shaped materials and chemicals from biomass and cellulosics in particular. The work relies heavily on the techniques of organic chemistry, physical organic chemistry and materials science.
Material and structural characterization is an integral part of the materials chemistry research program. For this, the department of chemistry has wide range instrumentation, including different microscopic, X-ray crystallographic and NMR spectroscopy techniques, in addition to a broad spectrum of other (like thermal, surface etc.) characterization techniques. In the characterization area, we have extensive experience in application of these techniques and in method development on different topics.