Learning how to make discoveries that will contribute to a better understanding of the fundamental behaviour of molecules and materials.
Most chemical research involves synthesising and characterising new molecules. So basically, a trial and error system. This specialisation goes one step further: it aims at fundamentally unravelling the properties of molecules and materials. How do pharmaceutical molecules arrange in different forms and how does this affect their efficiency as a drug? And in what way does the molecular structure of a polymer influence the mechanical strength of plastics? We try to find the answers by developing theory and applying physical set-ups for advanced spectroscopic experiments, such as high magnetic fields, free-electron lasers and nuclear magnetic resonance.
Thanks to all our research facilities being located on the Radboud campus, you’ll be able to perform your research with advanced spectroscopic methods. You get to choose the focus of your research. Some students work on biomolecules while others prefer for example solar cells, plastics or hydrogels. It’s even possible to specialise in the development of new technology.
Studying at the interface between physics and chemistry means collaborating and communicating with people from different scientific backgrounds. Moreover, you’ll be trained to work with large-scale facilities and complex devices. These qualities will be useful in both research and company environments. Jobs are plentiful, as almost all industrial processes involve physical chemistry.
- Unlike at (many) other universities, all physical and chemical Material Science departments are combined in one institute: the Institute for Molecules and Materials (IMM). Therefore, collaborating is second nature to us. - Radboud University hosts a large number of advanced spectroscopic facilities. As a Master’s student, you’ll get the chance to work with devices that are unique in Europe and even some that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. - We have multiple collaborations with companies that, for example, analyse complex mixtures such as biofuels, characterising hydrogels, and develop anti-caking agents for rock-salt. - During the courses and internship(s), you’ll meet a wide group of researchers in a small-scale and personal setting: a good starting point for your future network.
About 75 percent of our students start their career with a PhD position. However, eventually most students end up as researchers, policy advisors, consultants or managers in companies and governmental organisations. Whatever job you aspire, you can certainly make use of the fact that you have learned to:
Solve complex problems in a structured way Understand the professional jargon of different disciplines and work in a multidisciplinary environment Use mathematical computer tools Perform measurements with complex research equipment Graduates have found jobs at for example: - ETH Zurich - MIT - UC Berkeley - ASML - AkzoNobel - DSM - Shell - Unilever - Various spin-off companies, like Noviotech and Spinnovation
Our approach to this field
Physical Chemistry at Radboud University goes beyond the characterisation of molecules and materials. We focus on fundamental knowledge: What do spectroscopic measurements really mean? And how can we explain the behaviour of certain molecules or materials?
- Advanced spectroscopy Radboud University hosts a large range of advanced spectroscopic facilities. Think of the High Field Magnetic Laboratory, FELIX laboratory for free-electron lasers, NMR facility, scanning probe lab, etc. As a Master’s student in Physical Chemistry, you’ll get an overview of all these different methods, and you’ll be able to apply your knowledge as a member of a laboratory. Some of our students choose to focus on the development of new scientific methods.
- Bridging the gap between chemistry and physics We believe in knowledge transfer between chemists and physicists. That’s why in Nijmegen all material research is combined in one institute: the Institute for Molecules and Materials (IMM). During your Master’s, you’ll experience this interplay in the lectures and internships. Once graduated, you’ll be able to understand the vernacular of both disciplines and in that way bridge the gap between chemistry and physics.