Research Overview

Organic synthesis enables the precise generation of functional molecular building blocks and constitutes the basis of chemical approaches that our group is developing to address various aspects of materials science. We are convinced that the design of custom-tailored molecular nano-objects and their integration into functional nanosized structures will be key to the future bottom-up fabrication of miniaturized devices and the creation of new responsive “smart” materials. Our work is primarily focused on the design and synthesis of (macro)molecules with defined geometrical and electronic structure to target a desired property and function of the resulting materials. Complementing our synthetic efforts, we are investigating structure-property relationships as well as fundamental molecular processes on both the single molecule and the ensemble levels in solution and in the bulk, yet with particular focus on interfaces.
Illustration of our research programme (for a more modern, high-resolution graphical version see this poster).

Currently, we are following several lines of research and our main efforts are directed towards:
  • Remote-controlling function: Developing photoresponsive (switchable and triggerable) reactive and catalytically active systems as well as charge-transporters for spatially and temporally resolved chemistry, signal amplification, and smart materials.
  • Optomechanics: Designing various light-driven macromolecular systems (foldamers and rigid rods) that exploit cooperative phenomena (either folding and aggregation, respectively) to directly and efficiently convert light into motion.
  • Surface-confined chemistry: Controlling conformation, self-assembly, and chemical reactivity (switching and covalent bond formation) of individual molecules and their assemblies on solid substrates for nanoconstruction, molecular-scale electronics, and sensing.


  • molecular design and organic synthesis
  • macromolecular and supramolecular chemistry
  • single molecule reactivity, photochemistry
  • materials science, nanotechnology, and molecular devices