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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

First European Chemistry Gold Medal awarded to Prof. Ben Feringa

Posted on 06-03-2018

The very first European Chemistry Gold Medal has been awarded to Professor Ben Feringa for exceptional achievements in the field of chemistry in Europe. Professor Feringa will be presented with the Gold Medal during the 7th EuCheMS Chemistry Congress ... Read more


Research highlight

Molecular motors made into muscles

Posted on 2017-12-04

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graphical abstract

Bethany Halford



Chemists forge green path to alkylated amines

Posted on 2017-12-12

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graphical abstract



Most recent publications

  • Artificial muscle-like function from hierarchical supramolecular assembly of photoresponsive molecular motors

    Jiawen Chen, Franco King-Chi Leung, Marc C. A. Stuart, Takashi Kajitani, Takanori Fukushima, Erik van der Giessen & Ben L. Feringa , Nature Chemistry 2018, 10,132–138 (DOI: doi:10.1038/nchem.2887)

  • Highly Efficient and Robust Enantioselective Liquid–Liquid Extraction of 1,2-Amino Alcohols utilizing VAPOL- and VANOL-based Phosphoric Acid Hosts

    Erik B. Pinxterhuis, Dr. Jean-Baptiste Gualtierotti, Dr. Sander J. Wezenberg, Prof. Dr. Johannes G. de Vries, andProf. Dr. Ben L. Feringa, CHEMSUSCHEM 2018, 11, 178-184 (DOI: 10.1002/cssc.201701896)

  • Braking of a Light-Driven Molecular Rotary Motor by Chemical Stimuli

    Thomas van Leeuwen, Wojciech Danowski, Stefano F. Pizzolato, Peter Štacko, Dr. Sander J. Wezenberg* andProf. Dr. Ben L. Feringa, CHEMISTRY-A EUROPEAN JOURNAL 2018, 24, 81-84 (DOI: 10.1002/chem.201704747)