Module 1 (2014-2018): Mechanically responsive materials

Coupling between mechanical and chemical processes is widespread in living organisms. Examples include muscle action, chemotactic bacteria or conformational changes of membrane proteins. Nature easily masters the design of such mechanochemical transduction processes and maintains the function at different length scales. These processes provide the inspiration to the main goal of Module 1, namely to mimic such behavior with synthetic polymers. The main questions include the design of mechanically responsive materials, including bulk polymers or capsules, as well as measuring the force response of single polymer molecules by means of atomic force microscopy (AFM). These efforts aim towards the development of novel materials with stimuli-responsive functionalities.