Mesoscale Materials and Synchrotron Research
The group "Mesoscale Materials and Synchrotron Research" was led by Oskar Paris. The research activities were directed towards structural characterization and understanding structure-property relationships of complex mesoscale composites such as hierarchical biological materials, bio-inspired carbons and ceramics, and ordered mesoporous silica.
- We used hierarchical plant tissues as scaffolds or moulds to design novel nanostructured inorganic materials and characterized their structure and transformation behaviour (biomimetic processing). The challenge here was to preserve or to replicate the entire hierarchical structure of the original tissue from macroscopic down to molecular length scales by using nanocasting techniques or thermal transformation.
- We were interested in the phase behaviour of simple fluids in the confined geometry of ordered mesoporous materials. Particularly, we investigated the elastic interaction of the fluid with the solid pore walls upon capillary condensation.
- We aimed at the fundamental understanding of nanostructure and nanomechanical properties of disordered mesoscale carbons such as carbon fibres or pyrolized cellulose tissues.
The experimental approaches were essentially based on X-ray scattering techniques using synchrotron radiation. We developed sophisticated new in-situ methods to "watch mesoscale materials at work", and applied microbeam scanning techniques to "map the local nanostructure" in hierarchically structured materials. In particular, we developed and ran a scientific instrument for scanning microbeam small- and wide-angle X-ray scattering at the microfocus (µ-Spot) beamline at BESSY in Berlin. Besides, we applied neutron scattering, Raman and Infrared microscopy, as well as scanning- and transmission electron microscopy (SEM and TEM) as complementary methods.
Oskar Paris is now Professor of Physics in the Institute of Physics, University of Leoben, Austria