Prof. Dr. Si Wu

Si Wu was born in 1982 in Chongqing, China. He studied polymer science at the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC), Hefei, China and obtained Bachelor’s degree in 2005. He was supported by the joint doctoral promotion programme working at USTC and the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P), Mainz, Germany. In 2010, he received his PhD on photoresponsive composites of azopolymers. From 2010 to 2012, he worked as a postdoc at MPI-P. He has been a group leader at MPI-P since 2012. He is heading an experimental group focusing on synthesis of photoresponsive materials, including photoresponsive azobenzene polymers, photoresponsive Ru-containing polymers, and near-infrared light-responsive materials based on upconverting nanoparticles. In 2018, he was appointed as a full professor at USTC and established a new group in Hefei. He received 3 DFG grants, 1 FCI grant, and the Thousand Talents Plan for Young Professionals and also leads a MPGC project. Many of his former group members continued an academic career, in particular 3 of them became full professors in China. The aim of Si Wu’s research is to better understand the relationship between structures, dynamics, and performance of photoresponsive materials. The mission is to solve fundamental questions in photoresponsive polymers with the perspective of future applications such as healable materials, controlled drug release, photolithography, and information storage. Because of his research in photoresponsive polymers, Si Wu was awarded “10 Leading Chinese Talents on Science and Technology in Europe 2016” in Demark.

Research Interests

Photoresponsive azobenzene-containing polymers

We use photoswitchable azobenzene as building blocks to construct photoresponsive polymers. We control glass transition temperatures, adhesion, phase transitions, colors, morphologies, etc. with light.

Visible-light-responsive Ru-containing polymers

We also use Ru complexes that show ligand photosubstitution as building blocks to construct photoresponsive polymers and supramolecules. Photoresponsive ruthenium complexes have some interesting features. First, ruthenium complexes are responsive to visible light. The responsive wavelength can be further red shifted to the NIR region by proper structure design. Second, the responsive coordination bond in Ru complexes can be used to construct reversible and dynamic systems. Third, some ruthenium complexes have anticancer activities, similar to the anticancer metallodrug cisplatin. Fourth, ruthenium complexes are singlet oxygen sensitizers, which are similar to drugs used in photodynamic therapy. These interesting features make ruthenium complexes have many potential applications.

Near-infrared light-responsive materials based on upconversion

We also use upconverting nanoparticles as building blocks to construct near-infrared (NIR) light-responsive materials. We combine upconverting nanoparticles with azopolymers, Ru-containing polymers and other photoresponsive materials. These NIR light-responsive materials are useful for deep-tissue biomedical applications.

Selected Publications

1.
Zhou, H.; Xue, C.; Weis, P.; Suzuki, Y.; Huang, S.; Koynov, K.; Auernhammer, G. K.; Berger, R.; Butt, H.-J.; Wu, S.: Photoswitching of glass transition temperatures of azobenzene-containing polymers induces reversible solid-to-liquid transitions. Nature Chemistry 9 (2), pp. 145 - 151 (2017)
2.
Chen, Z.; He, S.; Butt, H.-J.; Wu, S.: Photon Upconversion Lithography: Patterning of Biomaterials Using Near-Infrared Light. Advanced Materials 27 (13), pp. 2203 - 2206 (2015)
3.
Sun, W.; Li, S.; Häupler, B.; Liu, J.; Jin, S.; Steffen, W.; Schubert, U. S.; Butt, H.-J.; Liang, X. J.; Wu, S.: An Amphiphilic Ruthenium Polymetallodrug for Combined Photodynamic Therapy and Photochemotherapy In Vivo. Advanced Materials 29 (6), 1603702 (2017)
4.
Xie, C.; Sun, W.; Lu, H.; Kretzschmann, A.; Liu, J.; Wagner, M.; Butt, H.-J.; Deng, X.; Wu, S.: Reconfiguring surface functions using visible-light- controlled metal-ligand coordination. Nature Communications 9, 3842 (2018)
5.
Xu, W.; Sun, S.; Wu, S.: Photoinduced Reversible Solid‐to‐Liquid Transitions for Photoswitchable Materials. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 58 (29), pp. 9712 - 9740 (2019)
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