“What would happen if we could arrange atoms one by one the way we want them?” wondered Richard Feynman as early as 1959. Instead of tiny tools dreamt by Feynman, chemists probe and manipulate molecules with lasers, X-rays, or beams of fast particles.
In this way, spectra, diffractograms, or images unveil molecular composition, structure, and dynamic behaviour. Similarly, light, heat, electric current, X-rays, or electron beams applied to molecules trigger chemical reactions by exciting vibrations or rotations, ionising them or even breaking interatomic bonds directly.
This allows us to study molecules ‘in action’ and, combined with theoretical modelling, our powerful approach sheds light on the private lives of molecules in chemical reactions.
Our core research, aimed at the fundamental understanding of molecular structure, function, and reactivity, is heavily reliant on our innovations in analytical chemistry, utilising different types of spectroscopy and microscopy, all underpinned by a deep specialism in quantum chemistry, density functional theory, and statistical thermodynamics methods, along with our rich expertise in the preparation of several specialist materials, including ionic liquids, coordination compounds, molecular monolayers, graphene, nanotubes, and nanoparticles.
Our Research Theme centres on the unravelling of the most fundamental mysteries of chemistry.