Specialisation Physical Chemistry

The focus of Physical Chemistry is on the chemical and physical properties of molecules and molecular assemblies. For example their behaviour in (bio)chemical processes, their interactions in complex systems, and their phase and interfacial behaviour. Nature is often taken as an example for studying and synthesising new compounds with interesting chemical or physical properties, so that they can be used in applications ranging from LCDs and biosensors to improving properties of food.

Research example


A topic which applies physical chemistry in a medical field is currently being researched at Physical Chemistry and Soft Matter. The goal of this research is to design de novo proteins for the encapsulation of nucleotide strands such as DNA. The binding of these proteins occurs through electrostatic interactions in the major groove of the DNA. The protein can then be self-assembled on the DNA template by DNA-protein and protein-protein interactions. The formed protein-DNA fibres are eventually  visualised by the atomic force microscope (AFM). These protein-DNA fibres show promising application in the medical field as vaccins. 


For this specialization, you need to choose at least two deepening courses, however you can always choose more if you want to. All details can be found in the study handbook, but some characteristic courses of this specialization are shortly explained below:

Research Methods Soft Matter

In this research method course offered by the chairgroup of Physical Chemistry and Soft Matter (PCC), you will get hands on experience with a range of advanced techniques in the field of (bio) interfacial chemistry and soft matter science. These include confocal microscopy, dynamic and static light scattering, indentation, and optical trapping. By not only performing and analysing experiments, but also constructing your instruments from their components, you get well prepared for individual work in the lab.

Advances in Magnetic Resonance

The development of molecular sciences for materials, food and health critically depends on comprehensive and non-invasive product characterization. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is probably the most widely applied analytical method with applications in e.g. analytical chemistry, structural biology, physical characterization of solid materials, imaging of tissues, organs and organisms, metabolomics, and transport processes in porous (bio)materials.

In this course a generalized form will be introduced to analyse and understand diverse classes of modern NMR and MRI experiments.

Structure and Reactivity

Structure and Reactivity is an advanced organic chemistry course, devoted to the structure and reactivity of organic compounds, guided by organic reactions and their mechanisms. New reactions and concepts are discussed, that also allow for a more detailed understanding and use of well-known reactions. Many types of reactions will be presented during lectures and discussed during tutorials, as well as the current research at the chair group of Organic Chemistry (ORC).

Thesis Research Groups

The MSc thesis forms the core of your specialization, reflected in the value of 36 ECTS. Your thesis will be part of the research of one of the chair groups of Wageningen University. The research groups that offer thesis projects within this specialization are listed below, and you can get more details on their respective websites.

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