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Merck Lecture: Prof. Rafal Klajn


Welcome to the invited lecture from 14.00-15.00 on 14th May 2019 by Prof. Rafal Klajn (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel), hosted by Aalto Distinguished Professor Olli Ikkala and sponsored by Merck.

Refreshments will be served in the U-lobby of Otakaari 1 after the lecture.

Title: From new dynamically self-assembling materials to chemical reactivities in confined environments.

Abstract: Living organisms are prominent examples of systems self-assembled and performing useful functions under far-from-equilibrium conditions. Inspired by Nature, we design new materials whose properties and functions can be “turned on” and “off” on demand, using external stimuli as “inputs”. Among the different external stimuli, we focus on light2 since it can be delivered instantaneously, into precise locations, and in the form of different wavelengths. In this talk, I will discuss molecular switches and inorganic nanoparticles as the key building blocks of new dynamically self-assembling nanomaterials. These materials hold promise for new applications as diverse as light-controlled catalysis3. I will also describe how these studies led us to become interested in a more fundamental issue of chemical reactivity in confined environments. Among the different types of synthetic confined spaces we studied, I will focus on nanopores of porous aromatic frameworks4, surfaces of inorganic nanoparticles5, nanopores within non-close-packed nanoparticle arrays6, and cavities of coordination cages7,8.


  1. Singh, G. et al., Science 2014, 345, 1149–1153.
  2. Kundu, P. K. et al., Nat. Chem. 2015, 7, 646–652.
  3. Zhao, H. et al., Nat. Nanotech. 2016, 11, 82–88.
  4. Kundu, P. K. et al., Nat. Commun. 2014, 5, 3588.
  5. Zdobinsky, T. et al., J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2014, 136, 2711–2714.
  6. Udayabhaskararao, T. et al., Science 2017, 358, 514–518.
  7. Samanta, D. et al., Nat. Commun. 2018, 9, 641.
  8. Samanta, D. et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2018, 115, in press.