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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

Ben Feringa wins prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry prize

Posted on 10-5-2017

Ben Feringa is the Royal Society of Chemistry Centenary Prize winner for 2017. The Centenary Prize is awarded to outstanding chemists from outside the United Kingdom – those who are also exceptional
communicators – to give lectures in the ... Read more


Research highlight

Visible-Light Excitation of a Molecular Motor with an Extended Aromatic Core

Posted on 2017-03-23

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graphical abstract

Thomas van Leeuwen, Jasper Pol, Diederik Roke, Sander J. Wezenberg , and Ben L. Feringa* (DOI: 10.1021/acs.orglett.7b00317)



Light responsive molecular motor winds up helicates

Posted on 2016-11-16

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graphical abstract



Most recent publications

  • Visible-Light Excitation of a Molecular Motor with an Extended Aromatic Core

    Thomas van Leeuwen, Jasper Pol, Diederik Roke, Sander J. Wezenberg , and Ben L. Feringa* , Org. Lett., 2017, 19 (6), pp 1402–1405 (DOI: 10.1021/acs.orglett.7b00317)

  • Dynamic control of chirality and self-assembly of double-stranded helicates with light

    Depeng Zhao, Thomas van Leeuwen, Jinling Cheng & Ben L. Feringa, Nature Chemistry 9, 250–256 (2017) (DOI: 10.1038/nchem.2668)

  • Photocontrol of Anion Binding Affinity to a Bis-urea Receptor Derived from Stiff-Stilbene

    Wezenberg, Sander J. Feringa, Ben L., ORGANIC LETTERS, 2017, 324-327 (DOI: 10.1021/acs.orglett.6b03423)