Stefan Spirk

Ass. Prof. Dr.

P: +43 316 873 32284 E: affiliation: Institute for Paper, Pulp- and Fibre Technology, hosted by ICTM

Stefan Spirk studied chemistry (main focus synthetic inorganic chemistry) at University of Graz where he finished 2006 his diploma and 2009 his PhD with Prof. R. Pietschnig. During this time, he worked on the synthesis and spectroscopic characterization of sterically demanding polyfunctional organosilicon compounds. One of the main aims was to isolate intermediate products which occur during polysiloxane synthesis.

Afterwards, he worked for one year as postdoc with Prof. V. Ribitsch on surface modification of polysaccharide based materials in the EU funded Surfuncell project. The main topic was to create hybrid materials on the basis of cellulose and silicon compounds using sol-gel chemistry. In October 2010, Stefan was awarded an Intraeuropean Marie Curie Fellowship by the EU. He moved to University of Bielefeld, Germany, where he joined Prof. Norbert Mitzel’s group. There, Stefan’s research dealt with the structural investigations of small molecules by means of gas phase electron diffraction. The aim was to synthesize and to characterize compounds which can serve as precursors for silicon oxynitride.

From October 2011, he has been working at University of Maribor (with Prof. Stana-Kleinschek) in the frame of the Marie Curie project STEP (Shaping and Transformation in the Engineering of Polysaccharides). The main focus of his work was led on tailoring the surface properties of functional polysaccharide based materials and to study the interaction capacity of these materials with biomolecules.

His work has been disseminated in numerous scientific articles, in a book chapter and in many talks at national and international conferences. In addition, Stefan organized a science event on the occasion of the European Capital of Culture in Maribor in July 2012 (Out of the Box - Lab, together with Marko Samec, Uni-Maribor) close to the main square in Maribor, Slovenia. Currently, he is also involved as advisory board member in the EU funded STREAM project which aims at strengthening the Romanian research area by knowhow transfer and staff exchange. Stefan’s research interests can be divided into three major topics:

-Nanocellulosic materials (thin films, nanofibers, nanocrystals, aerogels) and their interaction capacity with biomolecules (e.g. DNA, proteins, polysaccharides) using QCM-D

-Hybrid materials on the basis of renewable materials (e.g. chitosan and chitin blended with silicates)

-Nanoparticles with inorganic core and polysaccharide shell for biomedical applications (e.g. simultaneous antimicrobial and antithrombogenic surfaces, inkjet printing of electrodes for medical devices)

Publications in peer reviewed journals


41. Wolfberger, Archim; Petritz, Andreas; Fian, Alexander; Herka, Jakob; Schmidt, Volker; Stadlober, Barbara; Kargl, Rupert; Spirk, Stefan*; Griesser, Thomas*:" Photolithographic patterning of cellulose: a versatile dual-tone photoresist for advanced applications", Cellulose 2014, in press, DOI: DOI:10.1007/s10570-014-0471-4

40. Miletzky, Albrecht; Punz, Manuel; Zankel, Armin; Schlader, Sandra; Czibula, Caterina; Ganser, Christian; Teichert, Christian; Spirk, Stefan; Zoehrer, Siegfried; Bauer, Wolfgang; Schennach, Robert: "Modifying cellulose fibers by adsorption/precipitation of xylan", Cellulose, 2014, in press; DOI:10.1007/s10570-014-0472-3

39. Heike M. A. Ehmann*, Tamilselvan Mohan, Maria Koshanskaya, Sylvia Scheicher, Doris Breitwieser, Volker Ribitsch, Karin Stana-Kleinschek, Stefan Spirk*: "Design of anticoagulant surfaces based on cellulose nanocrystals", Chem. Comm. 2014, 50, 13070-13072

38. Tamilselvan Mohan*, Katrin Niegelhell, Cíntia Salomão Pinto Zarth, Rupert Kargl, Stefan Köstler, Volker Ribitsch, Thomas Heinze, Stefan Spirk*, Karin Stana-Kleinschek "Triggering Protein Adsorption on Tailored Cationic Cellulose Surfaces"; Biomacromolecules, 2014, in press, DOI: 10.1021/bm500997s

37. Archim Wolfberger, Rupert Kargl, Thomas Griesser*, Stefan Spirk* "Photoregeneration of cellulose - Concepts for realizing microstructured ultrathin cellulose supports in a non-destructive way", Molecules, 2014, 19, 16266-16273.

36. Tamilselvan Mohan*, Gerald Findenig, Stefan Höllbacher, Christoph Cerny, Tijana Ristić, Rupert Kargl, Stefan Spirk, Uros Maver, Karin Stana Kleinschek and Volker Ribitsch: "Interaction and Enrichment of Protein on Cationic Polysaccharide Surfaces", Colloids and Surfaces B, Biointerphases, 2014, in press, DOI:10.1016/j.colsurfb.2014.09.

35. Heike M.A. Ehmann, Doris Breitwieser, Sascha Winter, Christian Gspan, Günther Koraimann, Uros Maver, Marija Sega, Stefan Köstler, Karin Stana-Kleinschek, Stefan Spirk*, Volker Ribitsch: "Gold nanoparticles in the engineering of antimicrobial and anticoagulant surfaces" in Carbohydr. Polym., 2014, in press, DOI: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2014.08.116

34. Sergiu Coseri*, Alina Spatareanu, Liviu Sacarescu, Cristina Rimbu, Daniela Suteu, Stefan Spirk*, Valeria Harabagiu: "Green synthesis of the silver nanoparticles mediated by pullulan and 6-carboxypullulan" in Carbohydr. Polym., 2014, in press, DOI: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2014.06.008.

33. Natascha Hurkes, Heike Ehmann, Martina List, Stefan Spirk, Malte Bussiek, Ferdinand Belaj, and Rudolf Pietschnig: "Silanol Based Surfactants - Synthetic Access and Properties of an Innovative Class of Environmentally Benign Detergents" in Chem. Eur. J., 2014, 20, 9330-9335.

32. Jürgen Kahr, Carmen Moser, Stefan Spirk, Ferdinand Belaj and Rudolf Pietschnig: "Structural Comparison of Organoterminated Selenide, Diselenide and Triselenide" in Phosphorus, Sulfur, Silicon and the related elements, 2014, in press, DOI:10.1080/10426507.2014.919290.

31. Breitwieser, D.; Kriechbaum, M.; Ehmann, Heike M. A.; Monkowius, Uwe; Coseri, Sergiu; Sacarescu, Liviu*; Spirk, Stefan*:" Photoreductive Generation of Amorphous Bismuth Nanoparticles using Polysaccharides-Bismuth-Cellulose Nanocomposites" in Carbohydr. Polym., 2014, in press, DOI: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2014.06.017.


30. T. Mohan, T. Ristic, R. Kargl, A.Doliska, S. Köstler, V. Ribitsch, J. Marn, S. Spirk*, K. Stana-Kleinschek*: "Cationically rendered biopolymer surfaces for high protein affinity support matrices.", Chem. Comm., 2013, 49, 11530-11532.

29. Hurkes, N.; Spirk, S.; Belaj, F.; Pietschnig, R.: "At the Edge of Stability – Preparation of Methyl-substituted Arylsilanetriols and Investigation of their Condensation Behavior."  in Z. Anorg. Allg. Chem., 2013, 639, 2631–2636.

28. Breitwieser, Doris; Moghaddam, Mojtaba Mirhosseini; Spirk, Stefan*; Baghbanzadeh, Mostafa; Pivec, Tanja; Fasl, Hubert; Ribitsch, Volker; Kappe, Oliver C.: “In-Situ Preparation and Characterization of Silver Nanocomposites on Cellulosic Fibers - Microwave vs. Conventional Heating”, Carbohydr. Polym., 2013, 94, 677-686.

27. Breitwieser, Doris; Spirk, Stefan*; Fasl, Hubert; Chemelli, Angela; Reichel, Victoria E.; Kulterer, Martin R.; Gspan, Christian; Stana-Kleinschek, Karin; Ribitsch, Volker: „ Design of simultaneous antimicrobial and anticoagulant surfaces based on nanoparticles and polysaccharides” in J. Mat. Chem. B. 2013, 1, 2220-2230, DOI: 10.1039/C3TB00272A.

26. Ehmann, Heike; Spirk, Stefan*; Doliška, Aleš; Mohan, Tamilselvan; Gössler, Walter; Ribitsch, Volker; Sfiligoj-Smole, Majda; Stana-Kleinschek, Karin: “Generalized indirect Fourier transformation (GIFT) as a valuable tool for the structural characterization of nanocrystalline cellulose by small angle X-ray scattering”, Langmuir, 2013, 29, 3740–3748.

25. Kargl, R., Mohan, T.; Köstler, S.; Spirk, S.; Doliska, A.; Stana-Kleinschek, K.; Ribitsch, V.: “Functional patterning of biopolymer thin films using enzymes and lithographic methods” in Adv. Funct. Mat., 2013, 23, 308-315.

24. Mohan, T.; Zarth, C.; Doliska, A.; Kargl, R.; Grießer, T.; Spirk, S.; Heinze, T.; Stana-Kleinschek, K.: “Interactions of a cationic cellulose derivative with an ultrathin cellulose support” in Carbohydr. Polym., 2013, 92, 1046-1053.

23. Spirk, S.; Findenig, G.; Doliska, A.; Reichel, V.E.; Swanson, N.L.; Kargl, R.; Ribitsch, V.; Stana-Kleinschek, K.: „Chitosan-Silane Sol-Gel Hybrid Thin Films with controllable Layer Thickness and Morphology“, Carbohydr. Polym. 2013, 93, 285-290. DOI: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2012.04.030.


22. Mohan, T.; Spirk, S.*; Kargl, R.; Doliska, A.; Vesel, A.; Salzmann, I.; Resel, R.; Ribitsch, V.; Stana-Kleinschek, K.: „Exploring the rearrangement of amorphous cellulose model thin films upon heat treatment” in Soft Matter, 2012, 8, 9807-9815.

21. Mohan, T.; Spirk, S.*; Kargl, R.; Doliska, A.; Ehmann, H:M:A:; Köstler; S.; Ribitsch, V.; Stana-Kleinschek, K.: „Watching Cellulose grow - Kinetic Investigations on Cellulose Thin Film Formation at the Gas-Solid Interface using a Quartz Crystal Microbalance with Dissipation (QCM-D)”, Coll. Surf. A- Physicochem. Eng. Asp., 2012, 400, 67-72.

20. Findenig, G.; Spirk, S.*, Kargl, R.*; Ribitsch, V.: “Adsorption of Laponite on a Cellulose Model Surface”, Macromol. Symp., 2012, 311, 28-32. Most accessed article #5 from 01/2012-12/2012.

19. Spirk, S.; Berger, R.J.F.; Reuter, Christian; Pietschnig, R.; Mitzel, N.W.: „Silanetriols in the Gas Phase-Isolated Molecules vs. Hydrogen Bonded Dimers”, Dalton Trans., 2012, 41, 3630-3632. Hot Article-Selected for Journal Cover.

18. Findenig, G.; Leimgruber, S.; Kargl, R.; Spirk, S.; Stana-Kleinschek, K.; Ribitsch, V.: „Creating Water Vapor Barriers from Hydrophilic Components“ in ACS Appl. Mat Interfaces, 2012, 4, 3199-3206.

17. Spirk, S.; Belaj, F.; Hurkes, N.; Pietschnig, R.: „A 32 vertex polyhedron via supramolecular assembly of silanedithiolate silanolate units” in Chem. Comm. 2012, 48, 3398-3400.

16. Berger, R.F.J.; Rettenwander, D.; Spirk, S.; Wolf, C.; Patzschke, M.; Ertl, M.; Monkowius, U.; Mitzel, N.W.  „Relativistic Effects in Triphenylbismuth and Their Consequences on Molecular Structure and Spectroscopic Properties” in Phys. Chem. Phys. Chem., 2012, 14, 15520-15524.


15. Blunder, M.; Hurkes, N.; List, M.; Spirk, S.; Pietschnig, R.: “Silanetriols as in vitro AChE Inhibitors“, Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett., 2011, 21, 363-365.

14. Spirk, S.; Salentinig, S.; Zangger, K.; Belaj, F.; Pietschnig, R.: „ Self-assembly of tert-butyl silanetriol in solution and aggregation with tetrahydrofuran”, Supramol. Chem., 2011, 23, 801-805


13. Spirk, S.*; Ehmann, H.M.A.; Reischl, M.; Kargl, R.; Hurkes, N.; Wu, M.; Novak, J.; Resel, R.; Pietschnig, R.*; Ribitsch, V.: “Surface Modifications using a water stable silanetriol in neutral aqueous solutions”, ACS Appl. Mat. Interfaces, 2010, 2, 2956-2962.

12. Spirk, S.; Belaj, F.; Albering J.; Pietschnig, R.: „Formation of a Silylated 1-Silaallene via an Intermediate 1-Chloro-1-silaallene“ in Organometallics, 2010, 29, 2981-2986.

11. Spirk, S.; Belaj, F.; Madl, T.; Pietschnig, R.: “A radical way to synthesize hydroxylaminotrichlorosilanes – Synthesis, reactivity, and crystal structure of TEMPO-SiCl3 (TEMPO = 2,2,6,6,-tetramethylpiperidine-N-oxyl).” in Eur. J. Inorg. Chem., 2010, 289-297.


10. Spirk, S.; Nieger, M.; Belaj, F.; Pietschnig, R..: “Formation and hydrogen bonding of a novel POSS-trisilanolin Dalton Trans., 2009, 163-167.

9. Spirk, S.; Belaj, F.; Nieger, M.; Rechberger, G. N.; Köfeler, H.; Pietschnig, R.: “Exploring the Anion-Cation Interaction in m-Terphenyltetrafluorosilicates using multinuclear NMR spectroscopy, X-Ray diffraction and ICR-FT-MS.” in Chem. Eur.J., 2009, 15, 9521-9529.

8. Spirk, S.; Belaj, F.; Kahr, J.; Pietschnig, R. : “A one-dimensional coordination polymer formed by trifluoroacetic acid and its sodium salt” in J. Fluor. Chem., 2009, 365-367.

7. Spirk, S.; Belaj F.; Baumgartner, J.; Pietschnig, R.: “Controlling Supramolecular Hydrogen-Bonded Architectures of a Terphenylsilanetriol” in Z. Anorg. Allg. Chem., 2009, 635, 1048-1053.


6. Spirk, S.; Madl, T.; Pietschnig, R.:  “Relax with TEMPO: a paramagnetic relaxation agent useful also for silicon-29 NMR spectroscopy in Organometallics, 2008, 27, 500-502. Most accessed article #4 in 01/2008-03/2008.

5. Pietschnig, R.; Fechtelkord, Mi.; Spirk, S.; Rechberger, G. N.: “Phosphoryl Triamide Polymers Revisited: Identification of Structural Units with ESI-MS/MS and Solid State NMR” in J. Inorg. and Organomet. Polym. Mat., 2008, 18, 272-276.

4. Pietschnig, R.; Spirk, S.; Rechberger, G. N.; Merz, K..:   “Selenenylphosphonium ions as intermediates in the phosphane assisted methylation of elemental selenium” in Inorg. Chim. Acta, 2008, 361, 1958-1964.


3. Overlaender, C.; Tirree, Juergen J.; Nieger, M.; Niecke, E.; Moser, C.; Spirk, S.; Pietschnig, R.: “Preparation and molecular structure of 2,6-dimesitylphenyldichlorophosphane in Appl. Organomet. Chem., 2007, 21, 46-48.


2. Spirk, S.; Nieger, Martin; Pietschnig, R.; Rechberger, G. N.: “Formation and structural characterization of a sterically protected silicic acid diester” in Appl. Organomet. Chem., 2006, 20, 683-686.


1. Pietschnig, R.; Spirk, S.; Belaj, F.; Merz, K. :"Synthesis and Structure of a 2,4-Unsubstituted cis/trans-1,3 Disilacyclobutane via Dehydrofluorination from a Highly Hindered Methylfluorosilane" in Eur. J. Inorg. Chem., 2005, 11, 2151-2155.