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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

special visitors

Posted on 24-1-2017

Prof. Feringa was visited by 2 very nice guests: Boas and Roosmarijn (age 9!). They came well prepared and asked very good questions for a school project. Probably future scientists! We hope to hear which grade they got...

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Research highlight

Emerging Targets in Photopharmacology

Posted on 2016-07-13

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graphical abstract

Michael M. Lerch, Mickel J. Hansen, Gooitzen M. van Dam, Wiktor Szymanski and Ben L. Feringa, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2016, ASAP (DOI: 10.1002/anie.201601931) (DOI: 10.1002/anie.201601931)



Light responsive molecular motor winds up helicates

Posted on 2016-11-16

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graphical abstract



Most recent publications

  • Spectroscopic and Theoretical Identification of Two Thermal Isomerization Pathways for Bistable Chiral Overcrowded Alkenes

    Jos C. M. Kistemaker, Stefano F. Pizzolato, Thomas van Leeuwen, Thomas C. Pijper, Ben L. Feringa, Chemistry - A European Journal, 2016, 22, 13478-13487 (DOI: 10.1002/chem.201602276)

  • Enantioselective Synthesis of Di- and Tri-Arylated All-Carbon Quaternary Stereocenters via Copper-Catalyzed Allylic Arylations with Organolithium Compounds

    Sureshbabu Guduguntla, Jean-Baptiste Gualtierotti, Shermin S. Goh, and Ben L. Feringa*, ACS Catal., 2016, 6 (10), pp 6591–6595 (DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.6b01681)

  • Solvent effects on the thermal isomerization of a rotary molecular motor

    Anouk S. Lubbe, Jos C. M. Kistemaker, Esther J. Smits and Ben L. Feringa* , Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2016,18, 26725-26735 (DOI: 10.1039/C6CP03571J)