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Ionic liquids have been investigated for an extensive range of applications. This is due to their designation as designer solvents, whereby the physiochemical properties of an ionic liquid can be targeted for specific applications. Due to their tuneable properties, the obtained materials are used in diverse areas, covering their use in catalysis, as engineering fluids or for biomedical analysis.

Go with the flow: Continuous synthesis in and of ionic liquids

Flow chemistry involves a chemical reaction run in a continuous flow stream in tubes or microreactors for efficient manufacture of chemical products. We are developing novel synthetic protocols for the continuous-flow preparation of ionic liquids in microreactors for a pool of ionic liquid with high purity and improved environmental footprint.

The obtained ionic liquids are further used in catalysis, for example as supported ionic liquid-phase (SILP) which can be used for transition metal catalysed reactions in continuous flow. Additionally, we are working on ionic liquid-functionalized catalytic membrane systems. Membranes are prepared and/or functionalized in house to enhance esterification and amide formation through combination of water removal, catalytic ionic liquids and continuous flow chemistry facilitated by the membrane.

Go with the flow illustration

Engineering fluids

Ionic liquids have been used effectively in many applications for reducing problems related to friction and wear. In an ongoing cooperation with the tribology research group at the Institute of Engineering Design and Product Development, we are exploring the potential of ionic liquids as an anti-wear and extreme pressure lubricant additive for high load-carrying gearbox applications such as helicopter transmissions. A significant improvement in gear scuffing performance has been observed for ionic liquid blends in base oils, making them an alternative lubricant solution for high-load carrying gearbox applications.

Molecular diagnostics with tailored ionic liquids

The extraction of nucleic acids using commercial kits is very laborious and remains a major bottleneck for molecular diagnostics in clinical and environmental samples. In an ongoing cooperation with the Institute of Chemical, Environmental and Bioscience Engineering, tailored ionic liquids and optimized extraction protocols are developed that allow the rapid and quantitative extraction of DNA from a broad range of microbial and viral targets. Ultimately, they have the potential to revolutionize clinical as well as environmental diagnostics especially for rapid point-of-care and on-site applications.

molecular diagnostics scheme
Sampling and analysis scheme of a typical molecular diagnostic detection (top) and a modern point-of-care/on-site diagnostic using simple DNA extraction and isothermal amplification of the target DNA/RNA
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Lisa Eisele

Project Assistant, MSc
Lisa obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from the University of Stuttgart. During her Master’s studies she focused on Materials Chemistry gaining more lab experience during an ERASMUS stay at CPE Lyon working with polymerizable Pickering Emulsions. While doing her Master’s thesis she worked on organic/inorganic perovskite solar cells. In January 2021 she joined the Schröder research group as a PhD student. Her work is focused on Ionic Liquid co-catalyzed photocatalytic CO2 reduction.

Ádám Márk Pálvölgyi

Group Management

Ádám obtained his Bachelor degree in Chemistry from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics in 2015. After a short visiting semester in Belgium, he continued with his master studies in Hungary, where he focused on the synthesis and application of sugar-based crown ethers for asymmetric catalysis. Ádám joined the group in 2017 as a PhD student. Since finishing his PhD , he is a postdoctoral fellow in the group. His research focuses on sustainable chemistry, asymmetric catalysis, as well as on photochemical transformations.

Marie Entstrasser

Group Management
Marie is currently finishing her Bachelor’s degree in Japanese Studies at the University of Vienna. She helps Katharina with administrative duties and lab management.