Fabian Eisenreich is an assistant professor at the Eindhoven University of Technology. He works on chemical recycling of plastics, with a special focus on how to use light for recycling.

How do you like being an assistant professor?

‘Good so far, I first needed to adjust to my new responsibilities. I like to train my PhD-students and students in general, to show them the tricks I know and see them grow. It is good to work with motivated and talented students. Discussing science with my students is the most fun part.’

Why did you bring a light bulb bottle prop (see image below)?

‘I thought of how I could combine in light and plastic recycling. A light source is very visual. We are attracted by light. I combined the plastic bottle with the LED strip to combine plastic recycling with light.’

What brought you to TU/e?

‘I came there as a postdoc in 2019, with Bert Meijer, and worked there for three years. At the end I applied for a Veni grant and the assistant professorship and was lucky enough to get both. I combined them and then I had the perfect start.’

On which plastics does your research focus?

‘Two PhD’s work on this and they use two different concepts. We use photocatalysis to break down epoxy polymers, but we also want to continue with polyethylene – the bulk plastics. That’s our focus at the moment. I have ideas for other polymers, but I need more people to work on all these problems. The second research line is where we develop molecules that can switch between two different states with light reversibly. The idea is that we use these photoswitches as monomers, so they can switch between the monomer and the polymer state under UV-light or blue light.’

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Fabian Eisenreich with a light bulb bottle prop