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Optical Condensed Matter Physics

The aim is to identify, understand, and control the nature of various physical phenomena and functionalities of condensed matter systems. We approach this problem using a variety of linear and non-linear optical techniques and by developing microscopic models to describe the observed phenomena.



The research group Optical Condensed Matter Physics is part of the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, a research institute within the Faculty of Science and Engineering of the  University of Groningen.


Infrared light antenna powers molecular motor

In 1999, Ben Feringa, Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Groningen, created the first light-driven molecular motor. These tiny motors could be used in all kinds of nanotechnology applications, for example in the delivery of drugs. However, they are powered by ultraviolet light, which can be harmful. Scientists have been looking for ways to use near-infrared light instead, but all attempts so far have been unsuccessful. Researchers from the University of Groningen now designed an antenna that absorbs energy from near-infrared light. This antenna was attached to the motor molecule, where it transmits the energy directly to the axle that drives motor movement. The result is a motor molecule that is powered by near-infrared light, which brings medical applications one step closer.

This work was published in Science Advances 28 October 2020

Some popular articles on this work :
Science LinX of the University of Groningen
Chemical & Engineering News
Cosmos Magazine


Latest publications

>> For a list of all publications, see here <<

October 2020

Powering rotary molecular motors with low-intensity near-infrared light
Hoang et al
Science Advances

September 2020

Molecular versus excitonic disorder in individual artificial light-harvesting systems
Kriete et al.
Joural of the Americain Chemical Society

August 2020

Triphenylamine/Tetracyanobutadiene-based π-Conjugated Push-Pull Molecules End-capped with Arene Platforms: Synthesis, Photophysics, and Photovoltaic Response
B. Raul et al
Chemistry - A European Journal

April 2020

Microfluidic Out-of-Equilibrium Control of Molecular Nanotubes
B. Kriete et al
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics

November 2019

Hot carrier extraction in CH3NH3PbI3 unveiled by pump-push-probe spectroscopy
Pshenichnikov et al
Science Advances

>> For all publications, see here <<

Similarities Emerging from Disorder

In an all-RUG collaboration, the Optical Condensed Matter Physics and Theory of Condensed Matter Physics (both at the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials) groups have joined forces with the Molecular Dynamics group (Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute) to obtain a complete picture of the static and dynamic fluctuations of individual molecular nanotubes – an artificial analogue of natural light-harvesting antennae. The researchers used a powerful combination of single-molecule photoluminescence, ultrafast correlation spectroscopies, and theoretical multiscale modeling to obtain quantitative description of the molecular scale fluctuations in large supramolecular assemblies. The scientists demonstrated that although there exists considerable disorder at molecular scale, different nanotubes are remarkably similar to each other in their optical properties, because the disorder at the optical level is strongly suppressed by intermolecular interactions. This marks an important step towards a complete understanding of how delocalized excited states in large self-assembled systems are spatially and temporally constrained and mobilized by static and dynamic disorder.

The results of this work are published in The Journal of the American Chemical Society (B. Kriete, A. S. Bondarenko, R. Alessandri, I. Patmanidis, V. V. Krasnikov, T. L. C. Jansen, S. J. Marrink, J. Knoester, and M. S. Pshenichnikov, “Molecular versus excitonic disorder in individual artificial light-harvesting systems”, Journal of the American Chemical Society., 2020; JACS first online 28 September 2020).

Why disordered light-harvesting systems produce ordered outcomes” -- popular story by Rene Fransen (in English)

NWO Grant Awarded


Maxim Pchenitchnikov together with Thomas Jansen (Theory of Condensed Matter group were awarded a Dutch Research Council (NWO) grant for the proposal entitled “Self-assembly pathways of an artificial light harvesting complex”. The aim of the project is to study how thousands and thousands of molecules organize themselves into highly-ordered functional structures without external guidance. The key to elucidating self-assembly intermediate stages and their kinetics is to confront the spectroscopic data with those predicted theoretical calculations.




University of Groningen
Faculty of Science and Enginering
Zernike Institute for Advanced Physics


Our group participates in the SEPOMO network
Supported and co-funded by the European Commission through the Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie ITN Programme, the SEPOMO network focusses on research on efficient photovoltaic devices.


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November 2020
OCMP welcomes Sundar Raj Krishnaswamy, who will spend 4 years here as PhD student, studying “Self-assembly pathways of an artificial light harvesting complex”

August 2020
PhD position (perovskites) open

May 2020
Björn Kriete succesfully defended his PhD thesis, entitled "Exciton Dynamics in Self-Assembled Molecular Nanotubes". 
The degree was awarded with the distinction : Cum Laude

May 2020
Carolien Feenstra successfully completed her master research project entitled “Self-Assembly of Light-Harvesting Nanotubes”. Parts of her findings were published in PCCP. 
Congratulations and well done!