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The Nanobiotechnology Group (headed by Prof. Dr. Carsten Sönnichsen) at the Institute of Physical Chemistry at the University of Mainz studies the physical chemistry of nanoparticles. The research focuses on noble metal nanoparticles as molecular sensors for single bio-molecules, plasmonic particles for biomedical diagnostics, and metal-semiconductor hybrid nanoparticles for photocatalysis. Furthermore, we are interested in the physical and chemical mechanisms of wet-chemical nanoparticle formation process itself and the basic physical, crystallographic and chemical properties of the resulting particles. Optical and electron microscopy and optical single particle spectroscopy are the main experimental characterization techniques.
The group runs currently five electron microscopes offering electron microscopy characterization service for the whole university and industry. Among other things, we developed an advanced technique for crystallographic characterization of small samples by electron diffraction (contact person: Dr. Ute Kolb).
The group offers interested students, postdocs, and advanced researchers countless opportunities to take part in exciting projects (see open positions).
ERC starting grant
The Group of Prof. Sönnichsen receives ERC starting grant, starting from 2011.
ERC Project: SingleSens "Single metal nanoparticles as molecular sensors". For more information, please look here.
Gold and silver nanoparticles exhibit interesting color effects in the visible spectral region. They scatter light very strongly and thus act like small nano antennas. We use this property in a novel way to explore single biomolecules (see Research). The picture below shows an example of gold and silver particles in a dark field microscope. Every dot represents a single nanoparticle. The picture shows the impression you get when you look into the microscope in real color. The colors gives information about the shape and composition of the particles. For more information, have a look on our Research Page.