Foams are ubiquitous in our daily lives and in industrial applications. The vast number of possibilities to use foam in processes and products originate from their unique physico-chemical properties. In order to formulate foam with specific properties, its chemistry must be controlled at the molecular level of the ubiquitous gas-fluid interfaces. Molecular-level characterizations of fluid interfaces are essential and help to reveal structure-property relations inside foam. For that reason, we perform experiments on different hierarchical elements, at several length scales - particularly at the molecular level of fluid interfaces. For that, we apply nonlinear optical spectroscopy with femtosec-ond lasers. While the properties of most foams cannot be changed after their formation, a new class of photo-switchable surfactants (arylazopyrazoles) and their 2D assemblies at the air-water interface offer the opportunity to render fluid interfaces as well as macroscopic foam responsive to light irradiation. This opens exciting new possibilities for foams such as self-healing capabilities or the possibility to adapt foam properties by photo-switching of the surfactants.
Björn Braunschweig was born 1979 in Bad Gandersheim and studied Physics at TU Clausthal from 1999 to 2004. After he graduated with a Diploma in Physics, Björn Braunschweig became a re-search assistant in the group of Prof. Winfried Daum at TU Clausthal where he started to study fluid interfaces on a molecular level using electrochemical scanning tunneling microscopy and nonlinear optical spectroscopy. In 2009, he graduated with his PhD thesis “In situ Studies of Solid-Electrolyte Interfaces and their Molecular Structure: Platinum and alpha-Al2O3(0001)” which was awarded with Summa Cum Laude and a Dissertation prize of the TU Clausthal. In 2009, Björn Braunschweig joint the groups of Professors Andrzej Wieckowski and Dana D. Dlott at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA). During his research stay in the Wieckowski lab, he studied electrocatalytic reactions at model surfaces and was supported by a Feodor Lynen fellowship of the Alexander von Humboldt foundation. In 2011, Björn Braunschweig returned to Germany and became a group leader at the Institute of Particle Technology of the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg, where he worked with Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Peukert. In 2014, he received a Starting Grant of European Research Council and in 2017 he was appointed as a W1 tenure track Professor in Physical Chemistry at Westfälische Wilhelms University Münster.
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