Research Group 'Static and Dynamic Self-Assemblies for Bioinspired Materials'
The Walther Group is interested in designing and understanding new hierarchical self-assembly concepts inside and outside equilibrium, and connect them to soft materials research – often following bioinspired design principles. We focus on programming the space and the time domain of self-assemblies to create e.g. mechanical high-performance bioinspired nanocomposites under rather static conditions (near equilibrium), or self-erasing peptide hydrogels encoded with an internal self-regulation mechanism under dynamic conditions (outside equilibrium). Our philosophy entails to go beyond a quantitative understanding of structure formation processes by analyzing materials on a functional level to bridge the gap between fundamental research and first-time applications. Our research connects synthetic macromolecular chemistry with physical chemistry and materials science of soft matter. Our key experimental expertise, and the central connecting focal point is the fabrication of soft materials using self-assembly with a determined focus on aqueous systems. Water provides uniquely powerful forces for structure formation, is the origin of life to which we need to interface in a biomaterials world, and is of pivotal importance for sustainable materials design.