IRL on Nonaqueous Sol-gel Chemistry by Professor Markus Niederberger, ETH Zurich

Date: 04 Jun 2013 - 04 Jun 2013

Venue: SIMTech Tower Training Room 1 & 2

Invited Research Lecture: Nonaqueous Sol-Gel Chemistry: From Nanoparticles to Particle-based Aerogels, Films and Metal Foams

This lecture is designed for participants to gain a better understanding of nonaqueous sol-gel chemistry for synthesis of nanomaterials, and the use the nanoparticles in aerogels, films and metal foams for industrial applications. 

About the Speaker
DrMarkus Niederberger  is Associate Professor and Chair of the Laboratory for Multifunctional Materials, which was established at ETH Zurich in 2007. Markus Niederberger studied chemistry at the ETH Zürich, where he received his PhD on nanostructured metal oxides in 2000. After a postdoctoral stay at the University of California at Santa Barbara, in 2002 he became group leader at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam in the Colloid Department. In 2007 he was appointed to Assistant Professor (Tenure-Track) at ETH Zurich and in 2012 he was promoted to Associate Professor. Prof. Niederberger was placed on the ISI list of the 100 most-cited materials scientists in 2011. He is Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and Advisory Board Member of Journal of Materials Chemistry, Science of Advanced Materials and ChemPlusChem. Since 2009 he is Editor-in-Chief of Nanoscale. The Niederberger group works on the development of rational synthesis concepts for the production of new types of functional materials and their application in gas sensor technology, electronics, as well as in energy storage and conversion.

Nonaqueous sol-gel processes represent a powerful way to prepare metal oxide nanoparticles in a wide variety of sizes, shapes and compositions. They offer advantages such as high crystallinity of the nanoparticles, small crystal sizes in the range of just a few nanometers, and the possibility to dope the nanoparticles with other metals to tailor their properties. However, the preparation of the nanoparticles is only the first step towards their applications. Similarly important is their processing into films and their assembly into 3-dimensional architectures.

The talk will briefly introduce the basic concepts of nonaqueous synthesis approaches and their underlying chemical mechanisms. It will be shown how the use of microwave irradiation greatly accelerates the organic and inorganic processes, offering an efficient tool to prepare doped and undoped metal oxide nanoparticles within just a few minutes. In the second part of the presentation, we will discuss the use of nanoparticles as building blocks to prepare porous and dense films by spin and dip-coating and how to assemble them into multicomponent aerogels. Such a modular approach over several length scales represents an efficient way to process nanoparticles into a desired form optimized for a specific application. Nonaqueous sol-gel chemistry beyond metal oxides will be discussed in the context of copper, which can be prepared as self-supporting foil, as polymer-supported film or as templated metal foam.


2.00pm Registration

2.20pm Introduction by Dr. Linda Wu

2.30pm Lecture by Professor Markus Niederberger

3.30pm Q&A

3.40pm End

Who Should Attend
Senior management, R&D Managers, Engineers, Professors and University students.

This complimentary lecture is free of charge. Seats are available on first-come, first-served basis. To reserve a seat, please register online.

Contact Us
For technical enquiries: Dr Linda Wu, Senior Scientist, Surface Technology Group, Tel: 6793 8999; Email:

For General enquiries: Alice Koh, Senior Officer, Tel: 6793 8249; Email: