The Soft Matter Synthesis Laboratory (SML) is a synthetic platform (founded in 2011) of the Materials Systems Engineering Program (MSE Program). It is located in Building 601 at the Campus North of the KIT.

The Soft Matter Lab consists of a pool of competence in chemistry, including Organic Chemistry, Polymer Chemistry and Materials Chemistry, underpinned by the expertises of Prof. Stefan Bräse (Institute of Organic Chemistry), Prof. Patrick Théato (Institute for Chemical Technology and Polymer Chemistry), and Prof. Jörg Lahann (Institute of Functional Interfaces).

The main goal of the Soft Matter Synthesis Laboratory is to intellectually and experimentally support projects at the interface of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. The activities of the laboratory thus span the development of novel synthetic strategies, advanced materials design as well as optimization studies and on-demand synthesis within the MSE program.


Organic Chemistry (Prof. Stefan Bräse)

Synthesis of biological relevant complex structures and highly porous structures


  • Synthesis of natural products (Mycotoxins) and other bioactive molecules
  • Biological relevant structures (antibiotics, cytostatics, toxins)
  • Crop protection (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides)
  • Molecular transporters (peptides, peptoids, polyamines)
  • Highly porous structures
  • Chemical biology of cell recognition



  • Combinatorial chemistry (solid-phase synthesis, automated synthesis)
  • Asymmetric synthesis (metal- and organocatalysis, chiral ligands)
  • Organometallic synthesis (transitionmetal catalyzed processes)
  • Metal Complexes



Polymer Chemistry (Prof. Patrick Théato)

Research Interests/Experiences


  • Novel Synthetic Approaches to Complex Macromolecular Designs
  • Novel Living Free Radical Polymerization Processes, Novel Control Protocols (ESCP, TKMP)
  • Multifunctional Star Polymer Formation Processes
  • Radical Polymerization Processes in Aqueous and Non-Aqueous Systems
  • Novel Bonding/Debonding Polymer Systems, Understanding Dynamic Bonding in Polymer Systems
  • Novel Synthetic Orthogonal Methods for the Efficient Modification of Polymers
  • Preparation of Block Copolymers; Ring-Shaped Polymers; Comb Polymers; Star Polymers
  • Novel Orthogonal Ligation Protocols; Spacially and Temporally Controlled (Bio) Surface Design
  • RAFT Agent Design, RAFT Polymer Design
  • Sulfur Polymers
  • Electrochemistry
  • Anisotropic Polymer Nano-objects


Polymer Analysis

  • High Resolution Mass Spectrometry (ESI-MS, MALDI-TOF) of Synthetic Polymers; Hyphenated Techniques (HPLC/LACCC-ESI, SEC-ESI)
  • Size Exclusion Chromatography with Multiple Detectors
  • 2D HPLC-SEC Analysis of Complex Polymers
  • Small Angle X-Ray Scattering (SAXS)
  • On-Line Fourier Transform Infrared and Near Infrared Spectroscopy in Reacting Polymer Systems
  • High Resolution FT-IR Imaging/Microscopy


New Materials

  • Modification of Particle Surfaces by Conjugation; Micro/Nanosphere Design
  • New Polymer Materials via Polymer Analog Reactions
  • Stimuli Responsive (Star) Polymers
  • Self-Healing Materials Based on Radid Bonding/Debonding Polymer Systems
  • CO2-Responsive Polymers
  • Foldable Polymer Films
  • Electro-spun Functional Polymer Fibers
  • Macromonomers as Macromolecular Building Blocks
  • Macromolecular Nano-Containers
  • Functional Polymers for Tissue Engineering Applications
  • Multifunctional Star Polymers Based on Various Molecular Scaffolds: Access to Functional Nano-Particles
  • Glycopolymers Prepared via Living Free Radical Polymerization Methodologies
  • Functional Microspheres for Biomedical and Chromatographic Applications
  • Synthetic Rubber Materials (NBR, ABS) with Defined Structure and Functionality
  • Living Free Radical Polymerization (RAFT) in Aqueous Media using Cyclodextrin as Host Component
  • Biomimetic Synthetic Molecules (Towards Synthetic Proteins/Biomimetic Adhesives)
  • Polymer Modified Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs) for the Enforcement of Ceramic Materials and Polymeric Materials
  • New Avenues to Fullerene/Carbon Nanotube-Synthetic Polymer Hybrids
  • Nano-Porous Polymer Film Formation Processes
  • Orthogonal Surface Modification on a Wide Range of Materials (e.g. Cellulose, Si, Phototonic Crystals, Hyaluronic Acid); Dynamic Covalent Surfaces
  • Spatially Resolved Biofunctional Scaffolds for (Stem) Cell Differentiation
  • Polymer Stability Assays
  • New Functional Photoresists for Direct Laser Writing



Material Science (Prof. Jörg Lahann)


  • Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) polymerization
        Coating Techniques:
            Uniform Coating
            Gradient Coating
            Patterned Coating
  • Electrohydrodynamic Co-jetting (EHD)
        Variation of process parameters leading to different shapes of micro-to nano- particles or fibers
        Microsectioning of fibers to produce multi-compartmental microcylinders
        Needle System:
            side-by-side dual/multi-capillary needle system to obtain bi-/ multi-compartmental fibers
            co-axial compartmentalized needle system to create nano- and micron-scale hollow tubular fibers



  • Chemical polymer backbone modification of biodegradable polymers, such as hyaluronic acid or poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) for EHD
  • Bio-orthogonal functionalized synthesis of:
    leading to well-defined polymer films on surfaces after CVD polymerization
    Synthesis of customized linker systems