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Hasselt University (UHasselt www.uhasselt.be) was officially established in 1971 as ‘Limburgs Universitair Centrum’ (LUC), but it was not until 1973 that the university – literally – opened its doors and welcomed its first students. Over the past 40 years, Hasselt University has grown into an innovative and dynamic university with 2 campuses (Diepenbeek and Hasselt) and 7 research institutes. The largest research institute of the university is the Institute for Materials Research (IMO www.uhasselt.be/imo). Within this institute, fundamental and applied research is carried out on advanced materials, mostly in the realm of energy harvesting and storage and materials for healthcare applications.

IMO has an integrated and intensive collaboration with IMOMEC (Institute for Materials Research in MicroElectronics), the department of IMEC (Interuniversity Micro Electronics Centre, Leuven) at the university campus in Diepenbeek.

Hasselt University and IMO-IMOMEC contribute significantly to the regional science and technology development, working closely with other knowledge centres and industry. UHasselt is well imbedded within the interregional university environment and collaborates with numerous international partner institutions.

IMO-OBPC

  • State of the art precision monomer and polymer synthesis;
  • Application of polymer materials in opto/bioelectronic devices;
  • In-depth characterization of polymers;
  • Polymer synthesis for nanomedicine/biomedical applications.

members

  • Peter Adriaensens
  • Wanda Guedens
  • Dirk Vanderzande
 

UHasselt - IMO in detail

Organic and (Bio)Polymer Chemistry

The division of Organic and (Bio)Polymer Chemistry (OBPC) of the Institute for Materials Research (IMO www.uhasselt.be/imo) of Hasselt University (UHasselt www.uhasselt.be) hosts more than 40 researchers and technicians active in the field of (bio)polymer synthesis and characterization.

Research activities are divided over several subgroups, each focusing on specific aspects of polymer materials. Generally, the activities of OBPC stretch from synthesis of monomers and semiconducting polymers for organic electronics over precision polymer design of biomimetic polymers to manipulation of biomolecules for advanced technologies. Other topics that are addressed cover scientific topics as diverse as plastic electronics, sequence-controlled block copolymer synthesis, advanced NMR characterization, continuous flow synthesis techniques, microreactor synthesis, biosensor development, surface modification, self-assembly for applications in microelectronics, energy harvesting and storage, nanomedicine and biosensing.

Design & Synthesis of Organic Semiconductors (DSOS)

The DSOS group (W. Maes/D. Vanderzande) focuses on the design, synthesis and dedicated characterization of organic small molecules and polymers with electrical conductivity and/or special (electro)optical properties. There is a strong emphasis on the synthesis and structural analysis of conjugated polymers, particularly toward applications in printable electronics (organic photovoltaics, photodetectors, biosensors, …). Current activities include, amongst others, the development of low bandgap push-pull copolymers, polythiophenes and poly(arylene ethynylene)s, whenever possible implementing green protocols and building blocks, and employing flow chemistry for their production.

Polymer Reaction Design (PRD)

The PRD group (www.polymatter.net) (T. Junkers) strives for the development of new materials via state of the art polymer synthesis methods. From fundamentals and kinetics of polymerizations to the design of new polymer reaction pathways, all elemental steps are addressed and custom-made materials are constructed. Precision polymers such as sequence-controlled materials or molecularly imprinted polymers are developed. Continuous flow synthesis in microreactors is one of the most prominent research lines, next to advanced polymer characterization via chromatography and high resolution mass spectrometry, surface modification, light induced ligation reactions and kinetic modelling of complex polymerization systems. Applications of the developed materials stretch from additives, high-performance materials over sensors and bio-imaging to theranostics.

Biomolecule Design Group (BDG)

The main focus of the BDG group (W.Guedens/P.Adriaensens) lies on the development and optimization of methods to chemically or biologically modify biomolecules (i.c. proteins), thereby site-specifically introducing bio-orthogonal chemical functionalities at the amino acid level. Currently, these newly designed biomolecules are coupled covalently and uniquely oriented onto functionalized solid substrates (e.g. diamond and conjugated polymers) using ‘click’ chemistry in order to develop fully homogeneous next generation biosensing platforms. The structure and activity of the functionalized biomolecules is characterized by MS, NMR, PAGE-Western Blot and ELISA, and their coupling via SPR, ellipsometry, QCM and impedance spectroscopy. Besides for biosensors, our research is central to numerous other applications including bio-imaging, new bio-inspired materials, peptide/polymer hybrids, improving biocompatibility of biomedical implants, targeted drug delivery systems.

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