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Gero Decher

Satellite PI
MANA Principal Investigator (PI)


Educational & Research History

2006 - Present
Professeur classe exceptionnelle (Distinguished Professor, PREX), ULP, now Université de Strasbourg, France
1995 - Present
Professeur de Chimie (Full Professor, PR1), ULP, Strasbourg, France
1994 - 1995
Professeur associé (Visiting Prof.), Université Louis Pasteur (ULP), Strasbourg, France
1988 - 1994
Hochschulassistent (Assistant Prof.), J. Gutenberg-Universität, Mainz, Germany

Research History

Gero Decher holds a position as distinguished professor of chemistry (professeur des universités de classe exceptionnelle) at the “Université de Strasbourg” since the year 2006. He is affiliated with the CNRS laboratory “Institut Charles Sadron” where he is the head of the group “Polyelectrolytes, Complexes and Materials”. He is internationally most renowned for his seminal role in the development of polyelectrolyte multilayers, which today is most commonly known as “layer-by-layer (LbL) assembly”. This is a simple yet powerful nanofabrication method that has enabled the development of entirely new technologies, including biocompatible and bio-active coatings on medical devices, ultrastrong nanocomposites, neural interfaces, charge-storage devices, gas and liquid separation devices, fire retardants, gene delivery platforms, sensing devices, chromatography adsorbents and infrared blocking windows. In the 30 years since he “fathered” LbL-assembly as a new method for preparing multi-material nanocomposite films, it has become a widely accepted method in academia and in industrial research, approaching an impact similar to a name reaction in organic chemistry. A roll-to-roll process for coating millions of square meters of surface per year with hundreds of layers is already established. Consequently, Layer-by-Layer assembly is beginning to also change industry, it has already been adopted by several industrial giants as platform technology. LbL-assembly has also impacted academic training, one example being that in the year 2017 a Wiley-VCH book that he co-edited with J. Schlenoff in 2003 ”Multilayer thin Films: Sequential Assembly of Nanocomposite Materials” became a leading technology reference in the nationwide higher education curriculum in India in the field of biotechnology.

The distinctions awarded to Gero Decher include his senior membership at the “Institut Universitaire de France” (IUF) in 2007, the Grand Prix of the “Académie des sciences” for nanobiotechnology “Emilia Valori” in 2009, the ECIS - Rhodia European Colloid & Interface Prize in 2010 and the International Award of the Society for Polymer Science Japan in 2013. In 2015 he became a “Scientist paired with a member of the European Parliament” (STOA, MEP-Scientist Pairing Scheme 2015).

In February 2008, his article on "Fuzzy Nanoassemblies" published in Science magazine in August 1997 was ranked by ISI as 8th most cited among all journal articles in the entire field of chemistry in the decade from January 1, 1997 to October 31, 2007 (ISI THREAD_ID:245504) which identifies layer-by-layer assembly as one of the 10 most influential developments in the field of chemistry of this time period. As of April 2021 this landmark publication has received over 8650 ISI citations and over 11450 “Google Scholar” citations. The scientific work of Gero Decher is presently cited more than 27500 times in total and on average each of the publications that he authored or co-authored received more than 150 citations.

The main fields of interest of Gero Decher cover the development of the layer-by-layer assembly method, macromolecules at interfaces, nano-composite (bio)materials, (bio)functional nanoparticles, functional coatings, thin film devices and nano-organized multi-materials in general. More recently he has started to work on nano-composites with complex in-plane anisotropies and with complex superstructures.

His present responsibilities include the coordination of the recently awarded Excellence Cluster and Graduate School “Hierarchical and Functional Materials” (2020).

Landmark publications (more than 1000 ISI citations)

1) Science 277 (5330), 1232-1237 (1997) (8650 ISI citations)
2) Thin Solid Films 210/211, 831-835 (1992) (2460 ISI citations)
3) Makromol. Chem., Macromol. Symp. 46, 321-327 (1991) (1390 ISI citations)

Selected Papers

  1. Assembly of Anisotropic Nanocellulose Films Stronger than the Original Tree
    R. Merindol, S. Diabang, R. Mujica, V. Le Houerou, T. Roland, Ch. Gauthier, G. Decher, and O. Felix
    ACS Nano,14 (12), 16525–16534 (2020).
  2. In-plane aligned assemblies of 1D-nanoobjects: recent approaches and applications
    H. Hu, S. Wang, X. Feng, M. Pauly, G. Decher and Y. Long
    Chem. Soc. Rev., 49 (2), 509-553 (2020).
  3. The Future of Layer-by-Layer Assembly: A Tribute to ACS Nano Associate Editor Helmuth Möhwald
    S. Zhao, F. Caruso, L. Dähne, G. Decher, B. G. de Geest, N. Feliu, P. T. Hammond, N. Kotov, S. Leporatti, F. Lisdat, S. Moya, P. Mulvaney, S. Roy, D. G. Shchukin, A. Skirtach, G. Sukhorukov, P. S. Weiss, Z. Yue, D. Zhu and W. J. Parak,
    ACS Nano, 13 (6), 6151-6169 (2019).
  4. Highly Oriented Nanowire Thin Films with Anisotropic Optical Properties Driven by the Simultaneous Influence of Surface Templating and Shear Forces
    P. T. Probst, S. Sekar, T. A. F. König, P. Formanek, G. Decher , A. Fery, and Matthias Pauly
    ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces,10 (3), 3046-3057 (2018).
  5. Sequences of Sequences: Spatial Organization of Coded Matter through Layer-by-Layer Assembly of Digital Polymers
    R. Szweda, M. Tschopp, O. Felix, G. Decher and J.-F. Lutz
    Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 57(48),15817-15821 (2018).
  6. Spray-assisted alignment of Layer-by-Layer assembled silver nanowires: A general approach for the preparation of highly anisotropic nano-composite films
    H. Hu, M. Pauly, O. Felix and Gero Decher
    Nanoscale, 9(3),1307-1314 (2016).
  7. Generating in-Plane Orientational Order in Multilayer Films Prepared by Spray-Assisted Layer-by-Layer Assembly
    R. Blell, X.F. Lin, T. Lindstrøm, M. Ankerfors, M. Pauly, O. Felix and Gero Decher
    ACS Nano, 11(1), 84-94 (2016).
  8. What is really driving cell-surface interactions? Layer-by-layer assembled films may help to answer questions concerning cell attachment and response to biomaterials
    Y.N. Sergeeva, T. Huang, O. Felix, L: Jung, Ph. Tropel, S. Viville and Gero Decher
    Biointerphases, 11(1),Article No. 019009 (2016).
  9. Self-Assembled Smart Nanocarriers for Targeted Drug Delivery
    W. Cui, J. Li and G. Decher
    Adv. Mater, 28(6),1302-1311 (2016).
  10. Bio-Inspired Multiproperty Materials: Strong, Self-Healing, and Transparent Artificial Wood Nanostructures
    R. Merindol, S. Diabang, O. Felix, T. Roland, C. Gauthier and G. Decher
    ACS Nano,9 (2),1127–1136 (2015).
  11. Nanoprotective Layer-by-Layer Coatings with Epoxy Components for Enhancing Abrasion Resistance: Toward Robust Multimaterial Nanoscale Films
    S. S. Qureshi, Z. Zheng, M. I. Sarwar, O. Felix and Gero Decher
    ACS Nano,7(10), 9336-9344 (2013).
  12. Dipping versus Spraying: Exploring the Deposition Conditions for Speeding Up Layer-by-Layer Assembly
    A. Izquierdo, S. Ono, J.-C. Voegel, P. Schaaf, and G. Decher
    Langmuir,21 (16),7558-7567 (2005).