Chemists often target crystalline materials and substances, while gels, amorphous precipitates and glasses end up on the chemical cemetery. On the other hand many commercial products are disordered or even amorphous and structurally not well characterized; materials are often formed from a combination of the latter. A reason for the interest in crystalline substances may be the structural resolution power of diffraction techniques, which rely on long-range order. In amorphous samples the latter is almost absent however. Thus solid-state NMR may fill a gap in structural analysis because NMR does not depend on long-range order. We develop and apply solid-state NMR methods to study the structure of inorganic samples such as glasses, amorphous materials or disordered nano-particles. This involves synthesis of materials, characterization of thermal, chemical and optical properties, NMR-methodology and sample characterization by solid-state NMR but also by standard diffraction techniques. Our structural models direct the experimental chemist to find the best reaction conditions, allow to understand materials properties and allow a deeper understanding of "amorphous" inorganic chemistry.
As we are a materials chemistry group at university it is essential for us not only to publish but also to teach the next generation of students in different aspects of inorganic materials and spectroscopy. While most of the projects have a rather scientific touch, we are consequently open to more applied work in collaboration with industry. Don't hesitate to contact us.