The Functional Materials Laboratory (FML) has detailed know-how on the synthesis and application of functional materials. Know-how on nanoparticle synthesis by a flame-spray synthesis process developed in-house allows for a controlled large scale and low cost production of phase-pure nanoparticles. Nanoparticles can be made with tailored compositions exactly meeting application-defined requirements. Different analysis and characterisation methods are available in-house (e.g. X-ray diffraction for phase identification, electron microscopy for morphology and topology, infrared and UV/VIS spectroscopy, atomic adsorption spectroscopy, surface analysis methods such as Nitrogen sorption instruments, etc). Over the years, the FML has developed expertise in implementing combustion-derived nanoparticles into products including antimicrobial foils, bioactive polymer for bone fixation and dental treatment as well as magnetic nanoparticle for target isolation in diagnostics and therapy. Among others the possibilities offered by electrospinning are being exploited. Furthermore the FML has in the past gained know-how in technologies commonly used for cell studies (cell culture facilities, biochemical analysis, confocal laser scanning microscopy, etc.).
The FML has successful long-term collaborations with several universities as well as industrial partners, including two Fortune-100, several Fortune-500 and local companies. During these collaborations, three products have been brought to the market. Professor Wendelin Stark is co-founder of several ETH Spin-Off companies (Turbobeads, Nanograde, smartodont and novamem).
The FML has long-term collaborations with the University Hospital Zurich and the Dental Hospital Zurich. Post-docs, PhD and undergraduate students with chemical and bioengineering or chemistry background work in close collaboration on a daily base with hospital staff. Weekly project discussions of the chemists with medical doctors enable a target oriented research, and fulfilling of the needs of the target groups. Problems can be immediately identified and solved according to the end-user needs.
Professor Stark is one of the leading authors of the Swiss approach to evaluate nanoparticles on an industrial level.