Fotograaf: Jeroen Oerlemans

dhr. prof. dr. A.M. (Fred) Brouwer

  • Faculteit der Natuurwetenschappen, Wiskunde en Informatica
    Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences
  • Bezoekadres
    Science Park A
    Science Park 904  Kamernummer: C2.257
  • Postadres:
    Postbus  94157
    1090 GD  Amsterdam
    T: 0205255491

Molecular Photonics

.. is a branch of science that is engaged with the study of the effects that electromagnetic radiation (mostly in the ultraviolet and visible range) has on molecular materials. A few of the hot research topics in this field, with potential applications in materials and life science are (organic) solar cells, luminescence based medical diagnostics, and light sources based on electrochemiluminescence. The scientific background of the Molecular Photonics research team comprises molecular spectroscopy and photochemistry in a broad sense, and our research contributes to the development of these traditional fields. A great challenge is to explore the possibilities to conceive and develop new molecule-based devices in the context of nanotechnology (nanophotonics, plasmonics, biomolecular photonics, molecular machines), and catalysis. 

The main specific areas of interest in my group are:

  • light-driven motor molecules
  • fluorescent organocatalysts
  • photoactivation of water splitting catalysts
  • fluorescent labels and probes

The research tools used comprise:      

  • molecular design, synthesis and characterization
  • surface chemistry
  • molecular computational chemistry
  • steady-state and time-resolved spectroscopies
  • microspectroscopy and microphotochemistry,including single molecule spectroscopy

Student projects are available in all these areas. The nature of the research work can vary from mainly organic synthesis to purely spectroscopic studies, possibly mixed with molecular computations, all depending on the student's interest! 

Since July 1, 2014, I am also working as a group leader in the Advanced Research Center Nanolithography. The research in my group is focused on the understanding of the chemistry of photolithography at very short wavelengths (Extreme Ultraviolet). Since October 1, 2016, we participate in the ELENA network on electron induced chemistry.


The John van Geuns Foundation

John Waterloo van Geuns (1874-1927) was a chemist who obtained his PhD at the University of Amsterdam in 1903. His successful career in the oil industry made him quite a prosperous man. In the last part of his life the chemist van Geuns became more and more interested in the interaction of light with molecular matter. This was one of the reasons for his widow, Catharina Van Rossum du Chattel, to choose this as a key theme for the Foundation, dedicated to the memory of her husband, which she established in 1957.
The goal of the John van Geuns Foundation is to promote the study of chemistry at the Universiteit van Amsterdam, in particular of chemical research concerned with the interaction of light and matter. In order to achieve this goal, the John van Geuns Foundation supports staff and talented students with grants, facilitates guest lectures, and maintains a special chair in Molecular Spectroscopy.
Chair holders:
1970-1975 G.J.Hoytink
1975-1985 J. van der Elsken
1988-1995 M. Glasbeek
1995-1999 C.J. Elsevier
1999-2005 W.J. Buma
2006-2011 A.M. Brouwer

2013-present S. Woutersen 

Postdoc vacancy for electron induced chemistry at ARCNL in collaboration with Leiden University. MSc in physics or physical chemistry required, preferably experience with low-energy electron microscopy. For more information and application see:


Other members of the Molecular Photonics team may have vacancies, see links below.

Descartes Prize

The SynNanoMotor consortium was awarded one of the three Descartes Prizes for Excellence in Science of the European Commission on March 12, 2008. Prof. Wybren Jan Buma was present at the ceremony to receive the prize on behalf of our HIMS Molecular Photonics team. We are very pleased with the appreciation of our work on molecular motors!

John van Geuns Chair Molecular Spectroscopy

Since December 1, 2006, I held the special chair "Molecular Spectroscopy", supported by the John van Geuns Foundation. More information on the activities of the John van Geuns Foundation is available via the link at the top of the page.

My inaugural lecture was on April 18, 2008. (in Dutch)

De tekst en de vertoonde slides van mijn oratie op 18 april 2008:

4th Photochemistry Summer School 2012 "Photochemistry, Fundamentals and Applications"

It is our pleasure to announce the 4th Photochemistry Summer School 2012, an advanced course covering fundamentals and applications of photochemistry. This School will be from September 15-19, 2012 inWijk aan Zee (The Netherlands) and is organized by the Holland Research School of Molecular Chemistry under the auspices of the European Photochemistry Association (EPA).  This post-graduate school is intended for PhD students and other interested scientists who are active in the field of photochemistry in the broadest sense, or make use of photochemical or photophysical methods in their research work. The specialized lectures by international experts will be preceded by a short(optional) recapitulation of the basic aspects of molecular photochemistry and photophysics. The lecturers will be:    Céline Frochot (Nancy, France),  Rienk van Grondelle (Amsterdam, The Netherlands),  A. Prasanna de Silva (Belfast, UK),  Michel Orrit (Leiden, The Netherlands),  Adalgisa Sinicropi (Siena, Italy),  Sander Woutersen (Amsterdam, The Netherlands). Registration is open for PhD-students, postdoctoral students and industrial scientists. For more information and registration see


  • Ogoshi, T., Kotera, D., Nishida, S., Kakuta, T., Yamagishi, T., & Brouwer, A. M. (2018). Spacer Length-Independent Shuttling of the Pillar[5]arene Ring in Neutral [2]Rotaxanes. CHEMISTRY-A EUROPEAN JOURNAL, 24(24), 6325-6329. DOI: 10.1002/chem.201800215 
  • Weber, B., Suhina, T., Junge, T., Pastewka, L., Brouwer, A. M., & Bonn, D. (2018). Molecular probes reveal deviations from Amontons' law in multi-asperity frictional contacts. Nature Communications, 9, [888]. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-02981-y  [details] 
  • Kumpulainen, T., Qian, J., & Brouwer, A. M. (2018). Spectroscopic Study of a Cinchona Alkaloid-Catalyzed Henry Reaction. ACS Omega, 3(2), 1871-1880. DOI: 10.1021/acsomega.7b01713 


  • Panman, M. R., van Dijk, C. N., Huerta-Viga, A., Sanders, H. J., Bakker, B. H., Leigh, D. A., ... Woutersen, S. (2017). Transient two-dimensional vibrational spectroscopy of an operating molecular machine. Nature Communications, 8, [2206]. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-02278-6  [details] 
  • Kim, J., Michelin, S., Hilbers, M., Martinelli, L., Chaudan, E., Amselem, G., ... Gacoin, T. (2017). Monitoring the orientation of rare-earth-doped nanorods for flow shear tomography. Nature Nanotechnology, 12(9), 914-919. DOI: 10.1038/NNANO.2017.111  [details] 
  • Suhina, T., Amirjalayer, S., Woutersen, S., Bonn, D., & Brouwer, A. M. (2017). Ultrafast dynamics and solvent-dependent deactivation kinetics of BODIPY molecular rotors. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 19(30), 19998-20007. DOI: 10.1039/c7cp02037f 
  • Haitjema, J., Zhang, Y., Vockenhuber, M., Kazazis, D., Ekinci, Y., & Brouwer, A. M. (2017). Extreme ultraviolet patterning of tin-oxo cages. Journal of Micro/Nanolithography, MEMS and MOEMS, 16(3), [033510]. DOI: 10.1117/1.JMM.16.3.033510  [details] 
  • Raeisolsadati Oskouei, M., & Brouwer, A. M. (2017). Organocatalytic Fluorogenic Synthesis of Chromenes. Journal of fluorescence, 27(3), 1141-1147. DOI: 10.1007/s10895-017-2049-7  [details] 
  • Zhang, Y., Haitjema, J., Liu, X., Johansson, F., Lindblad, A., Castellanos, S., ... Brouwer, A. M. (2017). Photochemical conversion of tin-oxo cage compounds studied using hard x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Journal of Micro/Nanolithography, MEMS and MOEMS, 16(2), [023510]. DOI: 10.1117/1.JMM.16.2.023510  [details] 
  • Haitjema, J., Zhang, Y., Ottosson, N., & Brouwer, A. M. (2017). Photoreactions of Tin Oxo Cages, Model EUV Photoresists. JOURNAL OF PHOTOPOLYMER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, 30(1), 99-102. DOI: 10.2494/photopolymer.30.99  [details] 
  • Haitjema, J., Zhang, Y., Vockenhuber, M., Kazazis, D., Ekinci, Y., & Brouwer, A. M. (2017). Extreme ultraviolet patterning of tin-oxo cages. In E. M. Panning, & K. A. Goldberg (Eds.), Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) Lithography VIII: 27 February – 2 March 2017, San Jose, California, United States [1014325] (Proceedings of SPIE; Vol. 10143). Bellingham, WA: SPIE. DOI: 10.1117/12.2257911 
  • Zhang, Y., Haitjema, J., Liu, X., Johansson, F., Lindblad, A., Castellanos Ortega, S., ... Brouwer, A. M. (2017). Photochemical conversion of tin-oxo cage compounds studied using hard x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. In C. K. Hohle (Ed.), Advances in Patterning Materials and Processes XXXIV: 27 February–2 March 2017, San Jose, California, United States [1014606] (Proceedings of SPIE; Vol. 10146). Bellingham, WA: SPIE. DOI: 10.1117/12.2257893  [details] 
  • Fallica, R., Haitjema, J., Wu, L., Castellanos Ortega, S., Brouwer, F., & Ekinci, Y. (2017). Absorption coefficient and exposure kinetics of photoresists at EUV. In E. M. Panning, & K. A. Goldberg (Eds.), Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) Lithography VIII: 27 February – 2 March 2017, San Jose, California, United States (Vol. 10143). [101430A] (Proceedings of SPIE; Vol. 10143). Bellingham, WA: SPIE. DOI: 10.1117/12.2257240  [details] 


  • Suhina, T., Amirjalayer, S., Mennucci, B., Woutersen, S., Hilbers, M., Bonn, D., & Brouwer, A. M. (2016). Excited-State Decay Pathways of Molecular Rotors: Twisted Intermediate or Conical Intersection? The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 7(21), 4285-4290. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.6b02277  [details] 
  • Jagesar, D. C., Wiering, P. G., Kay, E. R., Leigh, D. A., & Brouwer, F. (2016). Successive Translocation of the Rings in a [3]Rotaxane. ChemPhysChem, 17(12), 1902-1912. DOI: 10.1002/cphc.201501162 
  • Chen, H-C., Reek, J. N. H., Williams, R. M., & Brouwer, A. M. (2016). Halogenated earth abundant metalloporphyrins as photostable sensitizers for visible-light-driven water oxidation in a neutral phosphate buffer solution. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 18(22), 15191-15198. DOI: 10.1039/c6cp01352j 
  • Chen, H-C., Williams, R. M., Reek, J. N. H., & Brouwer, A. M. (2016). Robust Benzo[g,h,i]perylenetriimide Dye-Sensitized Electrodes in Air-Saturated Aqueous Buffer Solution. Chemistry - A European Journal, 22(16), 5489-5493. DOI: 10.1002/chem.201505146  [details] 




  • Baggerman, J., Haraszkiewicz, N., Wiering, P. G., Fioravanti, G., Marcaccio, M., Paolucci, F., ... Brouwer, A. M. (2013). Induction of Motion in a Synthetic Molecular Machine: Effect of Tuning the Driving Force. Chemistry - A European Journal, 19(18), 5566-5577. DOI: 10.1002/chem.201204016  [details] 
  • Panman, M. R., Bakker, B. H., den Uyl, D., Kay, E. R., Leigh, D. A., Buma, W. J., ... Woutersen, S. (2013). Water lubricates hydrogen-bonded molecular machines. Nature Chemistry, 5(11), 929-934. DOI: 10.1038/NCHEM.1744  [details] 
  • van den Bosch, B., Chen, H. C., van der Vlugt, J. I., Brouwer, A. M., & Reek, J. N. H. (2013). A Noble-Metal-Free System for Photodriven Catalytic Proton Reduction. ChemSusChem, 6(5), 790-793. DOI: 10.1002/cssc.201200960  [details] 
  • Ogoshi, T., Yamafuji, D., Yamagishi, T., & Brouwer, A. M. (2013). Förster resonance energy transfer by formation of a mechanically interlocked [2]rotaxane. Chemical Communications, 49(48), 5468-5470. DOI: 10.1039/c3cc42612b  [details] 


  • Günbaş, D. D., & Brouwer, A. M. (2012). Degenerate molecular shuttles with flexible and rigid spacers. The Journal of Organic Chemistry, 77(13), 5724-5735. DOI: 10.1021/jo300907r  [details] 
  • Kumpulainen, T., & Brouwer, A. M. (2012). Excited-state proton transfer and ion pair formation in a Cinchona organocatalyst. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 14(37), 13019-13026. DOI: 10.1039/c2cp41483j  [details] 
  • Panman, M. R., Bodis, P., Shaw, D. J., Bakker, B. H., Newton, A. C., Kay, E. R., ... Woutersen, S. (2012). Time-resolved vibrational spectroscopy of a molecular shuttle. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 14(6), 1865-1875. DOI: 10.1039/c1cp22146a  [details] 
  • Plugge, M., Alain-Rizzo, V., Audebert, P., & Brouwer, A. M. (2012). Excited state dynamics of 3,6-diaryl-1,2,4,5-tetrazines: experimental and theoretical studies. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A-Chemistry, 234, 12-20. DOI: 10.1016/j.jphotochem.2011.10.025  [details] 
  • Raja, T. N., Brouwer, A. M., Nabuurs, T., & Tennebroek, R. (2012). A fluorescence approach to investigate repartitioning of coalescing agents in acrylic polymer emulsions. Colloid and polymer science, 290(6), 541-552. DOI: 10.1007/s00396-011-2575-9  [details] 
  • Bléger, D., Schwarz, J., Brouwer, A. M., & Hecht, S. (2012). o-Fluoroazobenzenes as readily synthesized photoswitches offering nearly quantitative two-way isomerization with visible light. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 134(51), 20597-20600. DOI: 10.1021/ja310323y  [details] 
  • Jacquart, A., Williams, R. M., Brouwer, A. M., & Ishow, E. (2012). Decoupling fluorescence and photochromism in bifunctional azo derivatives for bulk emissive structures. Chemistry - A European Journal, 18(12), 3706-3720. DOI: 10.1002/chem.201103411  [details] 


  • Brouwer, A. M. (2011). Standards for photoluminescence quantum yield measurements in solution. Pure and Applied Chemistry, 83(12), 2213-2228. DOI: 10.1351/PAC-REP-10-09-31  [details] 
  • Günbaş, D. D., Zalewski, L., & Brouwer, A. M. (2011). Solvatochromic rotaxane molecular shuttles. Chemical Communications, 47(17), 4977-4979. DOI: 10.1039/c0cc05755j  [details] 
  • Siekierzycka, J., Rosso-Vasic, M., Zuilhof, H., & Brouwer, A. M. (2011). Photophysics of n-butyl-capped silicon nanoparticles. The Journal of Physical Chemistry. C, 115(43), 20888-20895. DOI: 10.1021/jp2055156  [details] 
  • Juríček, M., Felici, M., Contreras-Carballada, P., Lauko, J., Bou, S. R., Kouwer, P. H. J., ... Rowan, A. E. (2011). Triazole-pyridine ligands: a novel approach to chromophoric iridium arrays. Journal of Materials Chemistry, 21(7), 2104-2111. DOI: 10.1039/c0jm03117h  [details] 


  • Günbaş, D. D., Zalewski, L., & Brouwer, A. M. (2010). Energy landscape of a hydrogen-bonded non-degenerate molecular shuttle. Chemical Communications, 46(12), 2061-2063. DOI: 10.1039/b926868e  [details] 
  • Marras, F., Kluwer, A. M., Siekierzycka, J. R., Vozza, A., Brouwer, A. M., & Reek, J. N. H. (2010). Phosphorus ligand imaging with two-photon fluorescence spectroscopy: towards rational catalyst immobilization. Angewandte Chemie, International Edition, 49(32), 5480-5484. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201000907  [details] 
  • Panman, M. R., Bodis, P., Shaw, D. J., Bakker, B. H., Newton, A. C., Kay, E. R., ... Woutersen, S. (2010). Operation mechanism of a molecular machine revealed using time-resolved vibrational spectroscopy. Science, 328(5983), 1255-1258. DOI: 10.1126/science.1187967  [details] 
  • Qian, J., & Brouwer, A. M. (2010). Excited state proton transfer in the Cinchona alkaloid cupreidine. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 12(39), 12562-12569. DOI: 10.1039/c003419c  [details] 
  • Raja, T. N., Brouwer, A. M., Biemans, K., Nabuurs, T., & Tennebroek, R. (2010). Detection of coalescing agents in water-borne latex emulsions using an environment sensitive fluorescent probe. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences, 9(7), 975-984. DOI: 10.1039/c0pp00065e  [details] 
  • Siekierzycka, J. R., Hippius, C., Würthner, F., Williams, R. M., & Brouwer, A. M. (2010). Polymer glass transitions switch electron transfer in individual molecules. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 132(4), 1240-1242. DOI: 10.1021/ja905667c  [details] 
  • Tu, L., Wang, Y., Yang, Y., Bakker, B. H., Kong, X., Brouwer, A. M., ... Zhang, H. (2010). Spectroscopic study of the authentic emitter of AMPPD chemiluminescence in alkaline aqueous solution. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 12(25), 6789-6794. DOI: 10.1039/b922244h  [details] 
  • Wang, Y., Smolarek, S., Kong, X., Buma, W. J., Brouwer, A. M., & Zhang, H. (2010). Effect of surface related organic vibrational modes in luminescent upconversion dynamics of rare earth ions doped nanoparticles. Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, 10(11), 7149-7153. DOI: 10.1166/jnn.2010.2878  [details] 
  • Zoon, P. D., van Stokkum, I. H. M., Parent, M., Mongin, O., Blanchard-Desce, M., & Brouwer, A. M. (2010). Fast photo-processes in triazole-based push-pull systems. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 12(11), 2706-2715. DOI: 10.1039/b921322h  [details] 
  • Kulago, A. A., Mes, E. M., Klok, M., Meetsma, A., Brouwer, A. M., & Feringa, B. L. (2010). Ultrafast light-driven nanomotors based on an acridane stator. Journal of Organic Chemistry, 75(3), 666-679. DOI: 10.1021/jo902207x  [details] 
  • Navarro, J. R. G., Plugge, M., Loumaigne, M., Sanchez-Gonzalez, A., Mennucci, B., Débarre, A., ... Werts, M. H. V. (2010). Probing the interactions between disulfide-based ligands and gold nanoparticles using a functionalised fluorescent perylene-monoimide dye. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences, 9(7), 1042-1054. DOI: 10.1039/c0pp00063a  [details] 


  • Bodis, P., Panman, M. R., Bakker, B. H., Mateo-Alonso, A., Prato, M., Buma, W. J., ... Woutersen, S. (2009). Two-dimensional vibrational spectroscopy of rotaxane-based molecular machines. Accounts of Chemical Research, 42(9), 1462-1469. DOI: 10.1021/ar9000845  [details] 
  • Bonn, M., Bakker, H. J., Rago, G., Pouzy, F., Siekierzycka, J. R., Brouwer, A. M., & Bonn, D. (2009). Suppression of proton mobility by hydrophobic hydration. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 131(47), 17070-17070. DOI: 10.1021/ja9083094  [details] 
  • Jagesar, D. C., Fazio, S. M., Taybi, J., Eiser, E., Gatti, F. G., Leigh, D. A., & Brouwer, A. M. (2009). Photoinduced shuttling dynamics of rotaxanes in viscous polymer solutions. Advanced Functional Materials, 19(21), 3440-3449. DOI: 10.1002/adfm.200900668  [details] 
  • Kluwer, A. M., Kapre, R., Hartl, F., Lutz, M., Spek, A. L., Brouwer, A. M., ... Reek, J. N. H. (2009). Self-assembled biomimetic [2Fe2S]-hydrogenase-based photocatalyst for molecular hydrogen evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106(26), 10460-10465. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0809666106  [details] 
  • Qin, W., Vozza, A., & Brouwer, A. M. (2009). Photophysical properties of cinchona organocatalysts in organic solvents. The Journal of Physical Chemistry. C, 113(27), 11790-11795. DOI: 10.1021/jp901867h  [details] 
  • Zoon, P. D., & Brouwer, A. M. (2009). A push-pull aromatic chromophore with a touch of merocyanine. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences, 8(3), 345-353. DOI: 10.1039/b818371f  [details] 
  • Altoè, P., Haraszkiewicz, N., Gatti, F. G., Wiering, P. G., Frochot, C., Brouwer, A. M., ... Garavelli, M. (2009). Multistate photo-induced relaxation and photoisomerization ability of fumaramide threads: A computational and experimental study. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 131(1), 104-117. DOI: 10.1021/ja802531j  [details] 


  • Brouwer, A. M., Raja, T. N., Biemans, K., Nabuurs, T., & Tennebroek, R. (2008). Probing of cosolvents in polymer latex materials by using solvatochromic fluorescence. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1130, 157-163. DOI: 10.1196/annals.1430.014  [details] 
  • Jagesar, D. C., Hartl, F., Buma, W. J., & Brouwer, A. M. (2008). Infrared study of intercomponent interactions in a switchable hydrogen-bonded rotaxane. Chemistry - A European Journal, 14(6), 1935-1946. DOI: 10.1002/chem.200701531  [details] 
  • Fioravanti, G., Haraszkiewicz, N., Kay, E. R., Mendoza, S. M., Bruno, C., Marcaccio, M., ... Leigh, D. A. (2008). Three state redox-active molecular shuttle that switches in solution and on a surface. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 130(8), 2593-2601. DOI: 10.1021/ja077223a  [details] 
  • Mendoza, S. M., Berná, J., Pérez, E. M., Kay, E. R., Mateo-Alonso, A., De Nadaï, C., ... Rudolf, P. (2008). Core level photoemission of rotaxanes: A summary on binding energies. Journal of electron spectroscopy and related phenomena, 165(1-3), 42-45. DOI: 10.1016/j.elspec.2008.05.004  [details] 


  • Raja, T. N., & Brouwer, A. M. (2011). Fluorescence spectroscopy in polymer science. In A. P. Demchenko (Ed.), Advanced fluorescence reporters in chemistry and biology III: applications in sensing and imaging (pp. 91-117). (Springer series on fluorescence; No. 10). Berlin: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-18035-4_3  [details] 


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