Research at IMM

Our research focuses on the fundamental interactions between molecules, the chemistry of complex, life-like molecular systems and the properties of matter emerging from quantum effects. Physicists and (bio) chemists, theorists and experimentalists cooperate in many research fields. Together, we work on understanding, designing and controlling the functioning of molecules and materials at the smallest length and time scales. The IMM research is organised in three research themes.

Biomolecular Chemistry Student in Lab

Research themes

Structure and Dynamics of Molecules

Acquiring a detailed understanding of molecular interactions is of great importance for physics and chemistry. It may allow us to actively control macroscopic systems, with applications ranging from more efficient chemical reactors to molecular quantum devices. Within this research theme, we unravel molecular interactions by studying motions within (bio) molecules, along with collisions between molecules and chemical reactions. Experiments are often based on advanced spectroscopic techniques such as Nuclear Magnetic Resonance and various laser techniques. 

Systems Chemistry

Chemistry of Complex Systems

Within this research theme, we aim to design and synthesize chemical reaction networks, such as those found in the cell, and study the complexity and functions that emerge in systems chemistry . We are inspired by chemistry in living cells, and want to master chemical processes that are found in biological environments. Industrial and catalytic processes could eventually benefit from this research as they often occur under circumstances of high concentrations and/or temperature. 

Spectroscopy of Solids and Interfaces

Spectroscopy of Quantum Materials

The goal within this research theme is to understand, develop, and manipulate materials based on collective or emergent quantum effects, aiming  at new types of functionality. To achieve this, we manipulate interactions in materials at the most extreme limits, namely at the level of individual atoms, on ultra-short time scales, at high pressures, or in the highest magnetic fields. We investigate quantum phases emerging in highly unbalanced conditions, at material interfaces, and in lower dimensional systems. New quantum materials may lead to much faster and more energy efficient ways of computing, transferring and storing of data, to mention some of the potential big applications.


Researchers at IMM are involved in many different research projects. In this list, you can find some of our current projects.

  • Co2 reduction

    Bettering nature’s approach

    Electrocatalytic reduction of CO2 is a promising approach to offset carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. In this project, Roithova's team studied how the 3D architecture of catalysts affects the conversion of CO2 to cleaner substances.

  • brain

    Neuromorphic Scientific Computing: Towards New Hardware

    This project will quantify the actual and potential energy reduction of scientific computing with current and near-commercial neuromorphic hardware and benchmark the potential of new neuromorphic hardware platforms for scientific computing.

  • data center

    Quantifying electron-electron forces at the atomic scale

    In this project, researchers will investigate novel correlated electron phases in 2D materials. These phases exhibit unusual superconducting or magnetic behaviour and a better understanding of the role of electron interactions is needed. The research

More projects

Research groups

The Institute for Molecules and Materials (IMM) has 24 research groups, from fundamental interactions between molecules, the chemistry of complex life-like molecular systems to the properties of matter emerging from quantum effects. Research at IMM is focused on three closely connected themes, supported by unique research facilities. 

View all research groups