Department of Applied Physics

Molecular Materials (Molmat)

Molecular Materials (Molmat) is a multidisciplinary research group consisting of physicists, chemists and biologists aiming at functional materials based on supramolecular and supracolloidal self-assembly and its hierarchies.

We use polymers, conjugated polymers, polypeptides, liquid crystals, nanocellulose, metal nanoparticles, dendrimers, virus particles, carbon nanotubes and other carbon-based materials as structural and functional units in supramolecular assemblies.  Recently, we have been engaged in bio-mimetic self-assembly with a special emphasis on nacre and silk mimetics.


The Molmat group is a part of the HYBER Centre, which was launched as the Academy of Finland´s Centre of Excellence in Molecular Engineering of Biosynthetic Hybrid Materials research (2014-2019), and is led by Professor Ikkala. HYBER aims to use biological concepts for next generation materials science.

Nanomicroscopy Centre (NMC)

Molmat is also a part of the Nanomicroscopy Center administered by Professor Janne Ruokolainen. NMC is a cutting-edge microscopy facility offering us a number of high-resolution imaging and fabrication tools for soft, hard and biomaterial characterization.

Professor Olli Ikkala - Photo by Lasse Lecklin

Group leader

Professor Olli Ikkala 

I head the Molecular Materials laboratory at the Department of Applied Physics of Aalto University in Greater Helsinki and the Centre of Excellence in Molecular Engineering of Biosynthetic Hybrid Materials Research (HYBER) of the Academy of Finland. My research interest is to develop functional materials based on hierarchical self-assemblies, biomimetics, and materials originating from nature, such as nanocellulose. The laboratory is multidisciplinary, combining physics, chemistry, and materials science. I have published nearly 300 articles, including several articles in the Science and Nature family, as well as ca 20 patents, and have been cited nearly 15,000 times (H-index 66). I have twice been awarded an ERC Advanced Grant and twice an Academy Professorship of the Academy of Finland. I am an elected member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters and the Technology Academy of Finland.

Molecular Materials Facilities

The Molecular Materials research group is located in Nanotalo. The building also houses the Nanomicroscopy Center (NMC).

All equipment is available for external users. Contact details of the responsible persons are listed below (Note: Each facility has a different contact person).


We collaborate extensively, both internationally and nationally. Our collaborators include:


  • Kemira
  • Nokia
  • UPM-Kymmene

International research institutes and universities

  • CEA/CNRS/Cermav, Grenoble, France (Patrice Rannou, Redouane Borsali and Vincent Forge)
  • Politecnico di Milano, Italy ( Pierangelo Metrangolo)
  • University of Duisburg-Essen. Germany (Andre Gröschel)
  • University of Bayreuth (A. Müller et al.)
  • University of Bristol (C. Faul et al.), Max Planck Institute, Golm (H. Schlaad, H. Börner et al.)
  • University of Athens (N. Hadjichristidis et al.)
  • KTH (L. Berglund, T. Lindström)
  • University of Cambridge (U. Steiner et al.)
  • University of Fribourg (R. Mezzenga et al.)
  • University of Groningen (G. ten Brinke et al.)
  • University of Santa Barbara (E. Kramer, G. Fredrickson et al.)
  • University of York (D. Smith et al.)
  • University of Pennsylvania (V. Percec et al.)
  • KAUST (N. Hadjichristidis et al.)
  • National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (H. Iatrou et al.)
  • University of Montreal (X.X. Zhu et al.)

National research institutes and universities

  • Tampere University of Technology (A. Priimägi)
  • University of Helsinki (M. Leskelä and M. Ritala et al., R. Serimaa et al., H. Tenhu et al., A. Urtti et al.)
  • VTT Biotechnology (M.Penttilä)
  • VTT Printable Electronics and Optics (H. Sandberg et al.)
  • Åbo Academy University (R. Österbacka et al.)
  • University of Helsinki (J. Hirvonen and L. Bimbo et al.)
  • University of Jyväskylä (H. Häkkinen et al., M. Lahtinen et al.)
  • Biomedicum, University of Helsinki (J. Klefström et al.).

Research groups within our university

Biotechnology and Chemical Technology (M. Linder, M. Kostiainen, J. Seppälä et al.)

Forest Products Chemistry (O. Rojas, J. Laine, E. Kontturi, M. Österberg)

Chemistry (M. Karppinen, K. Kontturi, C. Johans et al. )

Applied Physics (E. Kauppinen, P. Törmä)

Latest news

Cooperation, Research & Art Published:

School of Science researchers now involved in five Centres of Excellence

SCI researchers are partners in three new Centres of Excellence: Life-Inspired Hybrid Materials, Randomness and structures, and Virtual laboratory for molecular level atmospheric transformations.
The professors
Research & Art Published:

Ten new Academy projects awarded to the School of Science

The projects will investigate questions from nuclear fusion, solar energy, bio inspired materials, and many more
Polymer film that bends when light is shone on it
Research & Art Published:

Liquid crystal polymer learns to move and grab objects

Researchers trained material the same way as Pavlov trained dogs.
Olli Ikkala
Aalto Magazine, Research & Art Published:

Learning from nature

In his lab, Academy Professor Olli Ikkala is catching up with evolution’s lead in the manufacture of materials. The results of his work may be of crucial significance to an energy-scarce society.

Latest publications

Mechanistic role of HPV-associated early proteins in cervical cancer

Rahul Bhattacharjee, Sabya Sachi Das, Smruti Sudha Biswal, Arijit Nath, Debangshi Das, Asmita Basu, Sumira Malik, Lamha Kumar, Sulagna Kar, Sandeep Kumar Singh, Vijay Jagdish Upadhye, Danish Iqbal, Suliman Almojam, Shubhadeep Roychoudhury, Shreesh Ojha, Janne Ruokolainen, Niraj Kumar Jha, Kavindra Kumar Kesari 2022 Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology

Food-Grade Quercetin-Loaded Nanoemulsion Ameliorates Effects Associated with Parkinson’s Disease and Cancer: Studies Employing a Transgenic C. elegans Model and Human Cancer Cell Lines

Sabya Sachi Das, Arunabh Sarkar, Siva Chander Chabattula, Priya Ranjan Prasad Verma, Aamir Nazir, Piyush Kumar Gupta, Janne Ruokolainen, Kavindra Kumar Kesari, Sandeep Kumar Singh 2022 Antioxidants

Nanoscale-Structured Hybrid Bragg Stacks with Orientation-and Composition-Dependent Mechanical and Thermal Transport Properties

Theresa Dörres, Malgorzata Bartkiewicz, Kai Herrmann, Marius Schöttle, Daniel Wagner, Zuyuan Wang, Olli Ikkala, Markus Retsch, George Fytas, Josef Breu 2022 ACS Applied Nano Materials

Cellulose optical fiber for sensing applications

Ari Hokkanen, Markku Kapulainen, Aayush Kumar Jaiswal, Ville Hynninen, Nonappa Nonappa, Olli Ikkala, Hannes Orelma 2022 Optical Fibers and Sensors for Medical Diagnostics, Treatment and Environmental Applications XXII

Carboxymethyl Cellulose (CMC) Optical Fibers for Environment Sensing and Short-Range Optical Signal Transmission

Aayush Kumar Jaiswal, Ari Hokkanen, Markku Kapulainen, Alexey Khakalo, Olli Ikkala, Hannes Orelma 2022 ACS applied materials & interfaces

Molecular Insights into Therapeutic Potentials of Hybrid Compounds Targeting Alzheimer’s Disease

Ankit Jana, Arkadyuti Bhattacharjee, Sabya Sachi Das, Avani Srivastava, Akshpita Choudhury, Rahul Bhattacharjee, Swagata De, Asma Perveen, Danish Iqbal, Piyush Kumar Gupta, Saurabh Kumar Jha, Shreesh Ojha, Sandeep Kumar Singh, Janne Ruokolainen, Niraj Kumar Jha, Kavindra Kumar Kesari, Ghulam Md Ashraf 2022 MOLECULAR NEUROBIOLOGY

Molecular mechanisms of developmental pathways in neurological disorders: a pharmacological and therapeutic review

Niraj Kumar Jha, Wei Chih Chen, Sanjay Kumar, Rajni Dubey, Lung Wen Tsai, Rohan Kar, Saurabh Kumar Jha, Piyush Kumar Gupta, Ankur Sharma, Rohit Gundamaraju, Kumud Pant, Shalini Mani, Sandeep Kumar Singh, Ricardo B. Maccioni, Tirtharaj Datta, Sachin Kumar Singh, Gaurav Gupta, Parteek Prasher, Kamal Dua, Abhijit Dey, Charu Sharma, Yasir Hayat Mughal, Janne Ruokolainen, Kavindra Kumar Kesari, Shreesh Ojha 2022 OPEN BIOLOGY

Re-establishing the comprehension of phytomedicine and nanomedicine in inflammation-mediated cancer signaling

Niraj Kumar Jha, Saniya Arfin, Saurabh Kumar Jha, Rohan Kar, Abhijit Dey, Rohit Gundamaraju, Ghulam Md Ashraf, Piyush Kumar Gupta, Sugapriya Dhanasekaran, Mosleh Mohammad Abomughaid, Sabya Sachi Das, Sachin Kumar Singh, Kamal Dua, Shubhadeep Roychoudhury, Dhruv Kumar, Janne Ruokolainen, Shreesh Ojha, Kavindra Kumar Kesari 2022 SEMINARS IN CANCER BIOLOGY

Synthesis and characterization of biocompatible bimetallic-semi-aromatic polyester hybrid nanocomposite

Rohit Kumar, Piyush Kumar Gupta, Soumya Pandit, Niraj Kumar Jha, Janne Ruokolainen, Kavindra Kumar Kesari, Pravin P. Patil, S. Shankara Narayanan 2022 Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects

Nanosheet-templated graphene oxide membranes for fast molecule separation

Zhen Lin, Chuan Hu, Qinglin Liu, Qiugen Zhang 2022 AIChE Journal
More information on our research in the Research database.
Research database



Prof. Olli Ikkala
Coordinator Jacquelin De Faveri

Postal address:

Department of Applied Physics
Aalto University School of Science
P.O. Box 15100, 00076 Aalto, Finland

Visiting address:

Nano Building,
Puumiehenkuja 2 A
02150 Espoo

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