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Molecular Nanotechnology (MNT)


Admission requirements

Elective course for MSc Chemistry and MSc Life Science and Technology students.

A BSc degree in Chemistry, Molecular Science and Technology, Life Science and Technology or a related discipline with a good understanding of Organic Chemistry and some affinity with non-covalent interactions.

This course cannot be combined with the 2019-20 course Stereochemistry 4423STRCH in a master's programme.


Are we about to enter a new era in which synthetic molecular-sized machinery will perform useful tasks in our everyday life? We do not know for certain yet, but given the complex and essential tasks carried out by biological machinery, their artificial counterparts have the potential to revolutionize the future in medicine, materials science, and other fields. This course treats the subject of molecular nanotechnology and specifically deals with molecular systems that precisely control and exploit nanoscale motion that is induced by some kind of stimulus. After a general introduction, different types of molecular switches and machines, as well as the functions/tasks they are able to perform, will be discussed. Particular emphasis will be on their use to control lipid bilayer (transmembrane) transport and also other applications, e.g. in catalysis and nanorobotics, will be covered.

Course objectives

At the end of the course the student should be able to:

  • Explain how to control the different types of basic motion of/within molecules

  • Illustrate how (dynamic) isomerization processes can be influenced by stimuli

  • Analyze examples and operating principles of molecular switches and machines

  • Describe the principles of microscopic reversibility and non-equilibrium thermodynamics

  • Relate the output of a given molecular nanotechnology system or application to its input

  • Critically evaluate a research paper of choice that is associated with the course subject


Schedule information can be found on the website of the programmes.

Mode of instruction

Lectures and tutorials.

Assessment method

Written examination (70%) and 2-page literature essay (30%).
Dependent on the corona measures in place at the time of the final exam, the final assessment may need to be replaced by an online exam or an oral exam. Changes to the assessment method will be announced via Brightspace a minimum of 10 working days before the originally scheduled exam date.

Reading list

References to scientific literature will be provided during the course.


Register for this course via uSis


Dr. Sander Wezenberg


According to OER article 4.8, students are entitled to view their marked examination for a period of 30 days following the publication of the results of a written examination. Students should contact the lecturer to make an appointment for such an inspection session.