Current Projects

Updated as of
M3SR | Mesoscopic 3D-structure formation via controlled viscous reconfiguration
"I would like to describe a field, in which little has been done, but in which an enormous amount can be done in principle. […] it might tell us much of great interest about the strange phenomena that occur in complex situations."
(Richard P. Feynman, 1959)

These words were initially meant to motivate investigating what today nanotechnology is and brought about significant developments in this field with much more to come. The same spirit drives high-resolution 3D fabrication towards the submicron scale. I want to contribute to the area of 3D manufacturing of smart and active matter by developing new fabrication processes based on viscoelastic polymer reflow and the resulting capillary forces. I want to provide unique insight, understanding, and control handles for this reflow process. With this, improved solutions and new applications in the field of microfluidics, drug-delivery, MEMS/NEMS and soft-robotics become possible.

This long-term project focuses on scale-spanning research on:
  • Thermoplastic material behavior in the visco-elastic regime under confinement and at different time-temperature regimes
  • Investigation of behavior of heterogeneous thermoplastic material compositions
  • Investigation of thermoplastic polymer properties with high-resolution probing
  • Computationally cheap simulation of thermoplastic polymer reflow (e.g. soap film concepts)
  • Fabrication of defined and controlled 3D geometries using viscoelastic reflow and realization of innovative microfluidic concepts
  • Self-assembly of 3D geometries

  • FUNDING: DFG Heisenberg Fellowship (Grant #326062881)

    Updated as of
    3DFold | Programmed folding of mesoscopic 3D objects by viscoelastic reconfiguration
    Current techniques for full 3D structures are either limited in their resolution or do not achieve a sufficient throughput for high volume production. Besides, the existing methods are hardly scalable and cannot be used in a similar way for structures with some few hundred nanometers and structures with a few hundred micrometers. However, there are demanding applications requiring technologies with such capabilities. These applications include sensors based on 3D plasmonic particles, the generation of intelligent and uniquely identifiable 3D particles for digital microfluidics, 3D actuators for micro- and nano-soft-robotics, drug capture-release applications, 3D micro- and nanoelectronic systems as well as multiplexing array methods in bio and gene analysis (3D particle suspension array techniques). The 3DFold project aims to establish a new 3D technology and to demonstrate its usability through two selected demonstrator applications. The used technology is based on the so-called origami structure generation, i.e., the self-folding of 3D objects emanating from a planar 2D structure according to a given sequence and triggered by an external stimulus. The innovation of this application lies in the use of thermoplastic actuators and their modification for specialized applications.

    FUNDING: DFG Research Grants (Grant #412265813)

    Updated as of
    ad3pa | International Workshop for Advanced 3D Patterning
    This is a newly organized international workshop in Dresden to foster academic exchange and collaboration with industry in the field of high-resolution 3D patterning by combining both classical top-down lithography as well as pattern formation based on bottom-up self-organization. The workshop was for the first time organized in October 2017 as the kick-off event of the DFG-Heisenberg Fellowship of R. Kirchner. ad3pa17 was a success having 24 invited and well-recognized speakers, eight posters and about 60 international participants. The workshop has a well-balanced academic-to-industry ratio, with a majority of the contributions from academia.

    FUNDING: DFG International Scientific Events (Grant #412391863) (in 2018)