Carbon Nitride in Polymer Chemistry
Carbon nitride (CN) is well-known for its photocatalytic properties that are triggered by visible light. In our research we utilize CN as photoinitiator for the formation of hydrogels via visible light. Moreover, CN acts as a reinforcer at the same time, which leads to hydrogels with remarkable mechanical properties, e.g. against compression and shear forces. Depending on CN content, monomer composition and CN functionality, a plethora of mechanical properties can be designed. Furthermore, the photo-initiated polymerization allows the formation of hydrogel materials with spatial control, e.g. via utilization of photomasks. Due to CN incorporation the hydrogels feature photocatalytic properties, e.g. in hydrogen evolution. Currently, we are developing novel hydrogel formulations to vary mechanical properties and compositions with the goal of mimicking the mechanical properties of biological tissues and fabrication of tailor-made soft materials.