RSC School Seminar - Professor Bert Meijer (Eindhoven University of Technology)

Functional supramolecular systems and materials

combining covalent and non-covalent chemistry


The intriguing prospects of nanotechnology, sustainability, biomaterials, and the aim to close the gap between synthetic and biological molecular systems are important ingredients to study the cooperative action of molecules in the assembly towards functional supramolecular materials and systems. For chemists, the non-covalent synthesis of these supramolecular architectures is regarded as one of the most challenging objectives in science: How far can we push chemical self-assembly, and can we get control over the properties and functions of the responsive and adaptive architectures made? Moreover, the increasing number of different components in the assembly processes increases the complexity of the system, as many competing events occur, and pathway selection is needed to arrive at the state required for the function. Mastering this complexity with a combination of experiments and simulations is a prerequisite to achieve the challenges set in creating functional materials and systems. In the lecture we illustrate our approach using several examples out of our own laboratories. In all cases the control over the position of the molecules in time and space is needed. We will show the concept for their use as supramolecular polymeric materials, novel nanomaterials for spin-controlled water-splitting and as active ingredients in biomedical applications using multivalency and dilution-induced assembly processes in water. 


[1] T. Aida, E.W. Meijer, Supramolecular polymers - we've come full circle, Israel J. of Chem. 60, 33-47 (2020)

[2] G. Vantomme, E.W. Meijer, The construction of supramolecular systems, Science 363, 1396-1397 (2019)


E.W. “Bert” Meijer is Distinguished University Professor in the Molecular Sciences, Professor of Organic Chemistry at the Eindhoven University of Technology and co-director of the Institute for Complex Molecular Systems. After receiving his PhD degree at the University of Groningen with Hans Wynberg, he worked for 10 years in industry (Philips and DSM). In 1991 he was appointed in Eindhoven, while in the meantime he has part-time positions in Nijmegen, MPI-Mainz, and Santa Barbara, CA. Bert Meijer is a member of many editorial advisory boards, including Advanced Materials and is associate editor of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Bert Meijer has received several awards, including the Spinoza Award (2001), the ACS Award for Polymer Chemistry (2006), the AkzoNobel Science Award (2010), the ACS Cope Scholar Award (2012), the Prelog Medal (2014), the Nagoya Gold Medal (2017), the Chirality Medal (2018), the Van ‘t Hoff Medal (2022) and the GDCh Staudinger medal in 2022. In 2020 he is knighted by the king to be Commander in the Order of the Netherlands Lion. He is an honorable member of several academies and societies, including the US National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Science, where he is appointed to Academy Professor in 2014. Since 2022 he is also a visiting professorial fellow of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.