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    The Biofouling Challenge

    One major motivation of our group is the reduction and control of biofouling. But what is actually biofouling? The process of biofouling is referred to as the undesired accumulation of living organisms on artificial surfaces immersed in water1. It causes global challenges in the biomedical and marine sector, leading to severe healthcare problems as well as economic and environmental damage1,2. Heavily fouled ships consume more fuel to keep up speed which results in higher CO2 emission and thus accelerates global warming. Controlling the process of biofouling has been a considerable challenge, which is further complicated if biocidal substances that also harm non-target species and pollute the environment are meant to be avoided. Therefore, we use several surface functionalization methods to create surfaces and novel polymers which possess low fouling properties and are environmentally benign as well as free of biocides. We tackle this challenge by advanced surface chemistry, polymer chemistry, in-situ interface analysis, advanced X-ray nanoanalysis, and microfluidic adhesion experiments.

     Biofouling on ship hulls1,2

    [1] Callow, J. A. & Callow, M. E. Trends in the development of environmentally friendly fouling-resistant marine coatings. Nat. Commun. 2, 210–244 (2011), DOI:10.1038/ncomms1251

    [2] Klevens, R. M. et al. Estimating Health Care-Associated Infections and Deaths in U . S. Hospitals, 2002.122,160-166 (2007), DOI:10.1177/003335490712200205