Asphaltenes are today widely recognised as dispersed, chemically altered fragments of kerogen , which migrated out of the source rock for the oil, during oil catagenesis . Asphaltenes had been thought to be held in solution in oil by resins (similar structure and chemistry, but smaller), but recent data shows that this is incorrect. Indeed, it has recently been suggested that asphaltenes are nanocolloidally suspended in crude oil and in toluene solutions of sufficient concentrations. In any event, for low surface tension liquids, such as alkanes and toluene, surfactants are not necessary to maintain nanocolloidal suspensions of asphaltenes.
Michael R. Buchmeiser received his Ph. D. in Organometallic Chemistry at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, under the supervision of Prof. H. Schottenberger working on early and late transition metal metallocenes. He was awarded an "Erwin Schrödinger Fellowship" and spent one year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, Cambridge, MA) within the group of Professor Richard R. Schrock (Chemistry Nobel Prize 2005) working on poly(metallocenylacetylene)s and fluorinated organomolybdenum compounds. In 1995 he accepted a position as an Assistant Professor at the University of Innsbruck where he finished his "Habilitation" in Macromolecular Chemistry in 1998. From 1998-2004, he held a Faculty Position as Associate Professor at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. From 2000-2001, he was visiting Professor at the Graz University of Technology, Austria. From 2004-2009, he held a Faculty Position (Full Professorship (C4) for "Chemical Technology of Polymers") at the University of Leipzig, Germany. In parallel, from 2005-2009, he was Vice Director and Member of Board of the Leibniz Institute of Surface Modification (IOM), Leipzig, Germany. He received offers for Full Professorships from the Universities of Halle, Germany (2004), Leoben, Austria (2005), Dresden, Germany (2007) and Saarbrücken, Germany (2012, Full Professorship + Scientific Director of the Leibniz-Institute of New Materials, INM), which he all declined. Instead, in 2009, he accepted a Full Professorship in Macromolecular Chemistry at the University of Stuttgart, Germany. Since then, he is also the Director of the Institute of Textile Chemistry and Chemical Fibers (ITCF), Denkendorf, Germany and member of the board of the German Institutes of Textile and Fiber Research. His research interests focus on transition-metal catalyzed polymerizations, surface modifications, porous polymeric supports and their applications in the areas of heterogeneous catalysis, life sciences and battery systems. In addition, he is also engaged into various aspects of fiber chemistry including high-performance polymeric and inorganic fibers such as carbon fibers, oxide and non-oxide ceramic fibers, aramides and others. He is member of the International Advisory Board of Macromol. Rapid Commun., Macromol. Chem. Phys. and Macromol. Mater. Eng., has published more than 350 research papers and has filed more then 40 patents.