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The art of building small

The research program of the Feringa group is focussed on synthetic and physical organic chemistry. Inspired by Nature's principles of molecular assembly, recognition, transport, motion and catalysis, the goal is to exploit the full potential of synthetic chemistry to create new structures and functions. A major part of the research is directed towards dynamic molecular systems. The focus is on molecular nanoscience, novel responsive materials and photo-pharma exploring biohybrid systems, self-assembly, molecular switches and motors. A second part of the program deals with the development (and application in chemical biology) of novel stereoselective synthesis methods and asymmetric catalysis. Chirality is a leading theme and over the years a unique and broad expertise in fundamental aspects of stereochemistry has been acquired including chiroptical phenomena, chiral amplification and origin of chirality.

Research program

Molecular Switches and Motors Asymmetric Catalysis Chirality Photopharma and Biohybrid Systems Self-assembly, Gels and Responsive Materials

Cooperative Frontier & Excellence programs

  • Centre for Systems Chemistry weblink
  • Gravity Program on Complex Molecular Systems (with RUN/Tue) weblink
  • Zernike plus program for Advanced Materials weblink
  • Netherlands top Research program on Catalysis NRSC-C weblink
  • NanoNext on Molecular Nanosciences weblink

Ben L. Feringa

Ben Feringa

Prof. Ben L. Feringa obtained his PhD. at the University of Groningen, where he was appointed full professor in 1988, after working as research scientist for Shell. Under his guidance the Feringa group has developed extensive expertise in the fields of organic chemistry, nanotechnology, asymmetric catalysis. His discovery of the molecular motor ranks highly among the many discoveries made over the years. (Read more.)

Latest news

A film about women in academia

Posted on 20-6-2018

Athena’s Angels have seized the opportunity to draw attention to the position of women in academia with a Father’s Day gift. The gift is a short film where leading academic men, Ben Feringa, Robbert Dijkgraaf, Alexander Rinnooy Kan, Wim van ... Read more


Research highlight

The (photo)chemistry of Stenhouse photoswitches: guiding principles and system design

Posted on 2018-05-16

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graphical abstract



"Molecular motors power on"

Posted on 14th of May, 2018

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Most recent publications

  • The (photo)chemistry of Stenhouse photoswitches: guiding principles and system design

    Michael M. Lerch, Wiktor Szymański and Ben L. Feringa, CHEMICAL SOCIETY REVIEWS, 2018, 47, 1910 (DOI: 10.1039/c7cs00772h)

  • Green-Light-Sensitive BODIPY Photoprotecting Groups for Amines

    Sitkowska, Kaja ; Feringa, Ben; Szymanski, Wiktor, J. Org. Chem., 2018, 83 (4), pp 1819–1827 (DOI: 10.1021/acs.joc.7b02729)

  • Tailoring Photoisomerization Pathways in Donor–Acceptor Stenhouse Adducts: The Role of the Hydroxy Group

    Michael M. Lerch, Miroslav Medved, Andrea Lapini, Adèle D. Laurent , Alessandro Iagatti, Laura Bussotti, Wiktor Szymański , Wybren Jan Buma, Paolo Foggi, Mariangela Di Donato* , and Ben L. Feringa*, J. Phys. Chem. A, 2018, 122 (4), pp 955–964 (DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpca.7b10255)