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High aspect ratio carbon-based nanocomposites

Activity Code: NMP-2008-2.1-1
Coordinator: Prof. Dr Volker Abetz, Institute of Polymer Research, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht Centre for Materials and Coastal Research


The aim of SELFMEM is to develop innovation in the field of nanoporous membranes. This will be achieved by taking advantage of the self-assembly properties of block copolymers leading to highly porous membranes with adjustable, regular-sized pores of tailored functionalities. Both polymeric and inorganic (silicon) membranes will be developed.

In the case of isoporous polymeric membranes focus will be laid on the formation of integral-asymmetric block copolymer membranes with an isoporous top layer as a function of the block copolymer structure and the preparation conditions. Isoporous inorganic membranes will be prepared by using a thin block copolymer film as a mask for selective etching.

The possibilities to systematically vary the pore size and density by varying the block copolymer mask structure will be investigated. The block copolymers will be synthesized by controlled polymerisation techniques (anionic, group transfer, and different radical polymerisations), depending on the chosen monomers.

The characterisation during and after formation of the membranes will be carried out by light and various x-ray scattering techniques, by scanning force microscopy, and by different electron microscopic techniques. Both types of membranes will be post-functionalized in order to tune their final properties. The membranes will be tested for their applicability in different areas. Separation of gases (like H2/CO2) and proteins as well as water purification will be addressed in this project. Modeling and theory will support the understanding of the structure formation of these membranes and help to optimise membrane design.

The results of SELFMEM will increase European competitiveness in strategic markets such as gas purification, water treatment and molecular biology. The consortium consists of 12 partners from 10 countries, including 4 companies from 3 countries.

Project Details:

Start Date: 01.09.2009
End Date: 31.08.2012
EU Contribution: 3.6 Mio. Euro
Total Costs: 5.17 Mio. Euro
Funding Scheme: Small or medium-scale focused research project 
Administrative Contact Person: Dr Hans-Jörg Isemer, isemer@gkss.de
Scientific Coordinator:
Prof. Dr Volker Abetz, Volker.Abetz@gkss.de
Project Website:


  • Helmholtz Zentrum Geesthacht Centre for Materials and Coastal Research, Germany
  • Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences A.N. Nesmeyanoy Institute of Organoelement Compounds Russian Academy of Scienes, Russian Federation
  • Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Israel
  • Pall Europe Ltd, United Kingdom
  • L'Air Liquide, Societe Anonyme A Directoire et Conseil De Surveillance, France
  • Culgi BV, Netherlands
  • Rhenovia Pharma, France
  • Queen's University at Kingston, Canada
  • Universität Hamburg, Germany
  • CSEM Centre Suisse Electronique et de Microtechnique SA - Recherche et Développement, Switzerland
  • University of Cyprus, Cyprus
  • Université de Louvain, Belgium