The Ionov group seeks to utilize biologically inspired strategies to develop new functional and interactive 3-dimentional (bio-)materials based on stimuli-responsive polymers, actuated polymeric-based origami, self-folding films, and fibres for soft robotics, smart textiles, soft electronics, batteries and energy storage materials, tissue engineering and repair as well as for a variety of other scientific and industrial applications. Please see below for a description of our active research directions.

Shape-changing materials

Inspired by an actuation in nature (e.g. cone, flowers – Venusfliegenfalle or Mimose) we are developing synthetic 3-dimensional actuated origami-inspired transformable materials. Synthetic strategies, fundamental understanding of mechanism of folding behavior and programmable design of 3D materials are in the focus of this project.

Polymeric Fibres and Smart Textiles

We are developing novel surface modification strategies for controlling of structure-dynamical properties of polymers and programmed design of shape changing polymeric fibres for smart textiles.


We are developing novel hydrogels and patterned polymeric materials for the encapsulation of cells, tissue engineering and use in regenerative medicine and general surgery.

Batteries and Energy Storage Materials

Development of methods for storage of electrical energy has become highly important in recent time. Our interest is in the designing of new porous materials, polymer electrolytes and separators for Li-S batteries.

Smart surfaces

We are developing novel coatings with switchable, superhydrophobic, anti-icing and self-healing properties. 

3D printing

We are developing methods for 3D printing of novel polymeric and hybrid materials with advaced properties. We use 3D printing for design of biomaterials and tissue scaffolds.


We exploit information gained from our basic studies on 3D microfabrication using biomimetic self - folding polymer films and stimuli-responsive polymeric systems in general for the design of self-propelled particles/microswimmers or hairy particles for controlled material transport and catalytic applications.