Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering of functional nanosystems: from molecules to products

Mission of the department of Chemical Engineering (ChemE)

Our Mission is to generate knowledge and educate people in the area of nano chemical engineering to improve the quality of life for a sustainable society, focusing on energy, water, health and environment.

Building upon its proven strength in Chemical Engineering, the Department develops the science and technology of functional nanostructured systems, from molecules up to the design of products and processes.

Scientific and technological breakthroughs are attained through international and multidisciplinary teamwork. Our inspiring and adventurous environment facilitates growth of our students and employees as responsible and innovative personalities.


  • Ruud van Ommen appointed as Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Professor
    Delft University of Technology has appointed Ruud van Ommen as Antoni van Leeuwenhoek professor. These chairs are early promotions of young, outstanding scientists to the position of professor, enabling them to develop their scientific careers to the fullest extent at our university.

     Ruud van Ommen (42) received his MSc. in Chemical Engineering in 1996 and his PhD 2001, both at Delft University of Technology. He has been working as a faculty member at the Chemical Engineering Department (Faculty of Applied Sciences) since then, with stints at Chalmers University (Sweden) and the University of Colorado at Boulder (USA). His research interests are solids processing, reactor engineering, and scaling-up nanotechnology. Dr. van Ommen currently focuses on bringing manufacturing of advanced materials for energy and health applications from lab to industrial scale. He co-founded the fast-growing spin-off company Delft IMP (2014), and co-organized several national and international conferences in his field. He has co-authored over 100 publications in peer reviewed journals, several book chapters and patents. He has been the recipient of prestigious personal grants, such as ERC Starting (2011) and ERC Proof of Concept (2012&2015) grants. In addition to all this, he teaches in the curricula of Sustainable Energy Technology and Chemical Engineering, where the students value him as a dedicated and able teacher. 
  • ERC Consolidator Grant for Louis de Smet

    Louis de Smet has been awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant of nearly 2 million euro for his project ‘Electro-motion for the sustainable recovery of high-value nutrients from waste water.’
    The E-motion programme is set to research ultrathin polymer coatings for the recovery of specific nutrients from waste water via electro-driven separation processes. The focus is on phosphate, which is of special interest as all life forms need phosphorus and its resources are limited. The increased understanding of ion transport and ionic interactions in membrane media offer also applications in the areas of batteries, fuel cells and solar fuel devices.
    A first example from his group on such thin films show an increased affinity for mono-phosphate ions. The study will be published in the early February issue of Soft Matter (doi). This work has been performed in collaboration with Wetsus, European Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Water Technology and the University of Groningen. E-motion now allows Louis and his group to extend and deepen this research.
  • Louis de Smet awarded with the Young Scientist Award at GAMS 2015
     Louis recently presented the Soft Matter work at the Global Advanced Materials & Surfaces (GAMS) Forum 2015 in Dubai, UAE.His lecture on 'Functionalized Polyelectrolytes as Versatile Building Blocks' was awarded with the Young Scientist Award

    More info:
  • ERC starting grant for Houtepen
    Arjan Houtepen received an ERC starting grant from the European Union. He will receive 1.5 million euros for a new five year research programme.

    Arjan Houtepen is assistant professor at ChemE. His grant will be used to research electronic doping of porous semiconductor materials, specifically films made of colloidal quantum dots. Doping means intentionally introducing impurities into a material to change its properties, in this case the electron concentration. These porous semiconductors are very promising  for the development of efficient and cheap LEDs, lasers and photovoltaic cells.To achieve this, researchers need to be able to precisely dope these materials and that is not yet possible. Arjan Houtepen will use this grant to develop a completely new way to achieve this.
    ERC Starting Grants aim to support up-and-coming research leaders who are about to establish a proper research team and to start conducting independent research in Europe. The scheme targets promising researchers who have the proven potential of becoming independent research leaders. It will support the creation of excellent new research teams.
  • Paper publised in Science
    The work of Wouter Hendriksen, Job Boekhoven, Ger Koper, Rienk Eelkema and Jan van Esch was published in Science. The paper explores the potential of active materials fueled by chemical reactions, leading to programmable material properties with a lifetime and synthetic supramolecular polymers with microtubule like behavior. The movie (via gives a short overview of the main achievements, and the paper can be found here.
  • Delft IMP in top 10 European cleantech competition On September 4th, Delft IMP was awarded with the 9th position in the European finals of the Climate Launchpad business idea competition, with our scalable technology to produce highly efficient nanostructured catalysts.
    Delft IMP is a spin-off company from the  Product & Process Engineering (PPE) group at Delft University of Technology. The company is commercializing a new manufacturing method to produce nanostructured particles at industrially relevant scale, allowing a new generation of highly efficient catalysts to enter the market. Applications include improved catalytic converters in cars, lowering the dependency on valuable resources such as platinum and reducing environmental impact,  but also improvements in refining processes, reducing the carbon footprint and enabling the transition to biofuels and bioplastics.
    Climate Launchpad is a EU subsidized initiative to support cleantech startups defining their business proposition. This year, over 700 start-ups from 28 countries submitted their initial business ideas. Since spring, selected participants have gone through a demanding programme to work on their business idea: a 2-day boot camp, intensive business coaching and competing in national finals.
    In the finals on September 4th, 15 of the most promising business ideas had the opportunity to pitch in front of a renowned international jury, where Delft IMP was awarded with the 9th position, giving entry into the ClimateKic Accelerator, an 18-month program to help deliver our product to the customer.
  •  New textbook concerning biomass as a sustainable energy source for the future
    Currently, the production of heat, power, and gaseous or liquid fuels receives substantial attention. Last Friday, dr. Wiebren de Jong and dr. Ruud van Ommen of TU Delft presented a new textbook in which all different biomass conversion technologies are dealt with. The authors have presented the first copy to Anka Mulder, Vice-President for Education & Operations at TU Delft.The book deals with both physical pretreatment technologies and thermal, chemical as well as biochemical conversion technologies. To make the book accessible to a broad group of readers, in the first chapters an introduction is given to the basic principles of chemical engineering. Then, details of the latest biomass characterization techniques are dealt with, and biochemical as well as thermochemical characterization techniques are discussed. Next to this, different experts discuss the development of integrated biorefineries that show resemblances with oil refineries regarding reactor configurations and downstream processing. In the book, the authors also describe how environmental impact risks as a consequence of the use of biomass can be prevented. For the purpose of utilizing the book as study material, it also contains many problems, small projects, calculation examples and examples of industrial applications. The book will be used in the 3TU MSc. track Sustainable Energy Technology, but it is also interesting for professionals working in the energy sector and the process industry.


More info:

  • Publication in Science Magazine on honeycomb lattices of semiconductor nanocrystals with contributions from Chemical Engineering Dept. and Kavli Inst. for Nanoscience
    In the last few years the group of prof. Daniel Vanmaekelbergh from Utrecht University has developed new two-dimensional materials in which semiconductor nanocrystals are used as artificial atoms. Postdoc Wiel Evers from the Optoelectronic Materials (OM) and Molecular Electronics and Devices (MED) groups has contributed to realization of a two-dimensional lattice in which the nanocrystals are arranged according to a honeycomb geometry, similar to the carbon atoms in graphene.
    The new material combines peculiarities of the electronic structure of graphene with a non-zero band gap. This offers fascinating opportunities for fundamental studies on the dynamics of charge carriers, as well as promising prospects for application in optoelectronics.    
    Figure. Electron microscopy images of the new two-dimensional material. Left: overview of the honeycomb lattice. Right: high-resolution image showing the atomic alignment.More information
    Long-Range Orientation and Atomic Attachment of Nanocrystals in 2D Honeycomb Superlattices.
    M.P. Boneschanscher, W.H. Evers, J.J. Geuchies, T. Altantzis, B. Goris, F.T. Rabouw, S.A.P. van Rossum, H.S.J. van der Zant, L.D.A. Siebbeles, G. Van Tendeloo, I. Swart, J. Hilhorst, A.V. Petukhov, S. Bals, and D. Vanmaekelbergh
    Science 29 mei 2014
    DOI: 10.1126/science.1252642
  • Jorge Gascon appointed as Antoni van Leeuwenhoek professorDelft University of Technology has appointed Jorge Gascon as Antoni van Leeuwenhoek professor. These chairs are early promotions of young, outstanding scientists to the position of professor, enabling them to develop their scientific careers to the fullest extent at our university.

    Jorge Gascon (36) received his MSc. in Chemistry in 2002 and his PhD in Chemical Engineering in 2006, both at the University of Zaragoza (Spain). He has been working at the Chemical Engineering Department (Faculty of Applied Sciences) since 2006, lately as Associate Professor. His research interests fall at the interphase of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, including the development and demonstration of new nano-structured materials and composites. He has co-authored over 100 publications in peer reviewed journals, several book chapters and patents and has recently edited the book ‘Metal Organic Frameworks as Heterogeneous Catalysts'. He has been the recipient of the prestigious VENI (2010), VIDI (2013) and ERC Starting (2013) personal grants. Recently, he received the 2013 ExxonMobil Chemical European Science and Engineering Award. In addition to all this, the students value him as a great and able teacher.
    We enjoy the prospect of Dr. Gascon’s continuing career at Delft University of Technology, and we wish him success in doing so as a full professor.

    Tim van der Hagen, Dean, Faculty of Applied Sciences
    Michiel Kreutzer, Department Head, Chemical Engineering 
  •  Michiel Aerts receives price for the best poster on solar cells.
    During the 8th International Conference on Quantum Dots (, Pisa, May 11-16, the price for the best poster on solar cells has been awarded to Michiel Aerts.
    Michiel Aerts carries out a PhD student project in the Section Optoeletronic Materials. His project involves new nanomaterials for highly efficient solar cells and is funded by ADEM.
    The poster showed results on ultrathin sheets of lead sulfide. These sheets strongly absorb the near-infrared part of the solar spectrum. Due to quantum confinement UV photons are efficiently converted into multiple free electrons that can contribute to the current in a solar cell.
    The work has recently been published in Nature Communications, 5:3789 doi: 10.1038/ncomms4789 (2014),

    During the conference dinner Michiel Aerts receives the price for the best poster on solar cells from professor Victor Klimov from Los Alamos Research Laboratories, USA.
  • Presentation award for Maarten Goesten at NCCC-XVThe successful 15th Netherlands’ Catalysis and Chemistry Conference (NCCC-XV) has been visited by over 500 participants from The Netherlands and abroad, having a background in academia and/or industry. Inspiring keynote speakers have been able to attract the attention of the participants which resulted in many animated discussions scattered over the three days. At the end of the conference, Maarten Goesten received one of the 3 NIOK lecture awards for his presentation entitled “Porous Aromatic Frameworks as Heterogeneous Catalysts” (co-authors: A. Bavykina, A. Szecsenyi, F. Kapteijn, M. Makkee and J. Gascon).

     On the photo the three awardees: from left to right on the photo: Georgy Filonenko, Maarten Goesten and Jörg Schrittwieser.
  • Two CE covers in one week
    The recent CE papers “Visualizing MOF Mixed Matrix Membranes at the nanoscale: towards structure-performance relationships in CO2/CH4 separation” and “Insights into the catalytic performance of mesoporous H-ZSM-5-supported cobalt in Fischer-Tropsch synthesis” have reached the cover of the first 2014 issues of the prestigious Willey journals Advanced Functional Materials and ChemCatChem.
    In the first work, Tania Rodenas et al. demonstrate that FIB-SEM tomography can be a very powerful tool for the in depth characterization of MOF-polymer composites applied in gas separation. This paper has been published as an invited contribution to a special issue of the journal on Porous Materials. In the second publication, Sina Sartipi and coworkers, by combining a thorough catalytic performance evaluation with in-depth characterization techniques, unravel the origins of the high selectivity to gasoline range hydrocarbons and the effect of the zeolitic support on the cobalt active phase when Co-zeolite solids are used as catalysts for the direct production of gasoline from syngas. <table><thead><tr><th scope="col"></th><th scope="col"></th></tr></thead><tbody></tbody></table> Full bibliographic information can be found at:
     · T. Rodenas, M. van Dalen, E. García-Pérez, P. Serra-Crespo, B. Zornoza, F. Kapteijn and J. Gascon. Visualizing MOF Mixed Matrix Membranes at the nanoscale: towards structure-performance relationships in CO2/CH4 separation over NH2-MIL- 53(Al)@PI. Adv. Funct. Mat. 24 (2014), 249-256. doi:10.1002/adfm.201203462
     · S. Sartipi, M. Alberts, V.P. Santos, M.A. Nasalevich, J. Gascon and F. Kapteijn. Insights into the catalytic performance of mesoporous H-ZSM-5-supported cobalt in Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. ChemCatChem 6 (2014) 142-156. doi: 10.1002/cctc.201300635
  •  ChemE and Kavli Institute participate in FOM program on nanocrystal superlattices with honeycomb structure.   <table><thead><tr><th scope="col"></th><th scope="col">  Two-dimensional honeycomb lattice of PbSe nanocrystals </th></tr></thead><tbody></tbody></table> Prof. Laurens Siebbeles (ChemE), prof. Herre van der Zant and dr. Anton Akhmerov (Kavli Institute) have obtained funding for three PhD student projects to study nanocrystal superlattices with a honeycomb structure, analogous to graphene. The research is part of a national FOM program, headed by prof. Daniël Vanmaekelbergh at Utrecht University. Researchers from Utrecht, Delft and Eindhoven will investigate how the opto-electrical properties can be adjusted by variation of composition and mutual coupling of nanocrystals in a honeycomb superlattice. The systems to be developed are distinct from graphene by the presence of an electronic band gap. Understanding the dynamics of charge carriers in the new two-dimensional materials is of fundamental interest and is important for application in solar cells or nanoelectronics.
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  • TU Delft professor wins Best Article Award in Liquid Crystals
    Professor Stephen J. Picken of the department of Chemical Engineering (faculty of Applied Sciences) and coworkers, among them prof.dr. Theo J. Dingemans of the department of Aerospace Engineering, received the Luckhurst-Samulski prize for the best article published in the journal of Liquid Crystals in 2012*. The prize was presented by Geoffrey Luckhurst, one of the founders of the journal Liquid Crystals, at the Rhodos European Liquid Crystal Society meeting on September 25th 2013.
    The prize was awarded for an article which provides the first description of the optical texture of a liquid crystal phase which had been predicted in 1970 by Marvin Freiser.
    The so-called biaxial nematic phase is the holy grail of liquid crystal research, the identification of the optical texture marks an important step forward to the discovery of similar biaxial nematic materials that may provide ultra fast switching displays and similar optical components.
    Left to right: Ed Samulski and Geoffrey Luckhurst (co-founders of Liquid Crystals), Oriano Francescangeli, Stephen Picken, Corrie Imrie (editor of Liquid Crystals)

    * Full name of the article and the authors:
    Uniaxial to biaxial nematic phase (NB) transition in a bent-core thermotropic liquid crystal by polarising microscopy,
    Stephen J. Picken (Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Department of Chemical Engineering, Delft, The Netherlands),
    Theo J. Dingemans (Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Delft, The Netherlands),
    Louis A. Madsen (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Department of Chemistry, Blacksburg, VA, USA),
    Oriano Francescangeli (Dipartimento di Fisica e Ingegneria dei Materiali e del Territorio and CNISM, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy)
    Edward T. Samulski (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Chemistry, Chapel Hill, NC, USA).
    The article can be downloaded from:


    The disorder in quantum-dot solids determines the efficiency of light-emitting diodes and solar cells that are made from them. This was demonstrated by researchers from ChemE, the Kavli Institute and Toyota in Nature Communications on September 13th. It was their second NC publication within three weeks.
    The researchers are working on the development of better and cheaper materials for solar cells, displays and lamps. In late August they already demonstrated how to produce solar cells with a higher efficiency by using nanostructures of quantum-dots.
    Disappearing electrons
    The second article is a continuation of this research. A solar cell generates electricity when electrons that are freed by light can move through the solar cell and are absorbed by the electrodes of the solar cell. A major problem here is that electrons can disappear. These electrons recombine with ‘holes’, the positive charges that remain when electrons are freed.
    Useful disorder
    In the publication, the researchers showed that in nanostructures of quantum-dots the electrons disappear through a process called Auger recombination, and the determining factor for that process is the disorder in the nanostructure. By prohibiting this disorder, the recombination can be delayed significantly. Furthermore, the researchers show that disorder also offers opportunities, in making fast switches for optical telecommunication and infrared lasers.
    More information
    - Publication 1: High Charge Carrier Mobility Enables Exploitation of Carrier Multiplication in Quantum-Dot Films, C.S. Suchand Sandeep, S. ten Cate, J.M. Schins, T.J. Savenije, Y. Liu, M. Law, S. Kinge, A.J. Houtepen, L.D.A. Siebbeles. Nature Communications 4 (August 23 2013), doi: 10.1038/ncomms3360
    - Publication 2: Disorder strongly enhances Auger recombination in conductive quantum dot solids, Y. Gao, C.S. Suchand Sandeep, J.M. Schins, A.J. Houtepen, L.D.A. Siebbeles, Nature Communications 4 (September 13 2013), doi: 10.1038/ncomms3329
    Contact: Arjan Houtepen; tel: +31 (0)15 27 82157
    Researchers from the Optoelectronic Materials Section at ChemE, Toyota Motor Europe and the University of California have developed a nanostructure with which they can make solar cells highly efficient. They published their findings on 23 August 2013 in the online edition of Nature Communications (DOI
    Several years ago it was already demonstrated that the photon energy in excess of the band gap of a PbSe nanocrystal can be used to excite additional electrons. In this way the current of a solar cell can be enhanced and the heat loss is reduced.
    However, up until now the problem was that the electrons could not move efficiently from one nanocrystal to another, due to the presence of inappropriate molecules on the surface of nanocrystals. Suchand Sandeep and Arjan Houtepen from ChemE developed a new nanomaterial with increased electron mobility. They used special small molecules on the nanocrystal surface and researchers in California infilled the empty space between the nanocrystals with aluminium oxide. Using laser spectroscopy it was observed that a single photon indeed caused the release of several electrons in the material containing linked nanocrystals. All of the electrons that jumped across the band gap moved freely around in the material. As a result of this, the theoretical yield of solar cells containing such materials rises to 45%, which is more than 10% higher than a conventional solar cell.
    This more efficient type of solar cell is easy to produce: the structure of linked nanocrystals can be applied to the solar cell as a type of layered paint. Consequently the new solar cells will not only be more efficient but also cheaper than conventional cells.
    In the new nanomaterial two or more electrons jump across the band gap as a consequence of just a single light particle (arrow with waves) being absorbed. Using special molecules the researchers have strongly linked the nanocrystals as a result of which the electrons can freely move and an electrical current can develop in a solar cell.
    ‘High Charge Carrier Mobility Enables Exploitation of Carrier Multiplication in Quantum-Dot Films', S. Sandeep, S. ten Cate, J.M. Schins, T.J. Savenije, Y. Liu, M. Law, S. Kinge, A.J. Houtepen, L.D.A. Siebbeles, Nature Communications (23 August 2013, DOI 10.1038/ncomms3360),  
  • TU Delft improves production of hydrogen from sunlight
    TU Delft and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin have taken a step forward in the production of hydrogen from solar energy. (Efficient solar water splitting by enhanced charge separation in a bismuth vanadate-silicon tandem photoelectrode’ Fatwa F. Abdi, Lihao Han, Arno H. M. Smets, Miro Zeman, Bernard Dam, Roel van de Krol. Nature Communications 29 July 2013). Combining a cheap photoanode with a PV solar cell,  they reached a yield of almost 5 per cent. In other words, nearly 5 per cent of the energy in the incident sunlight is stored in the hydrogen produced. For this type of set-up, that is a record.
  •  ChemE Veni laureates
    The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded Veni grants to twelve TU Delft scientists. The department ChemE is very proud that two of them are the ChemE members Wilson Smith and Volkert van Steijn. The NWO grant offers them the possibility of developing their own line of research and building their own research group. The scientists belong to the top ten to twenty per cent of their field. The grants will be used to help the researchers develop their ideas and carry out research in the next three years. The candidates were selected on the basis of their outstanding talent for conducting innovative scientific research. The grants amount to a maximum of 250,000 euros for each researcher.
  • Wilson Smith (MECS)
    “Solar fuels for a sustainable future”
    Solar water splitting uses two of Earths greatest and most abundant resources to produce hydrogen, which can be used as an environmentally benign replacement for fossil fuels. In order to make this process sustainable, robust, and scalable for the long term future, the materials used to catalyze the water splitting reaction need to be made from cheap and Earth abundant elements. This project seeks to investigate metal oxide semiconductors made from materials that are amply found in nature such as copper, oxygen and nitrogen. The performance limitations for these metal oxides will be systematically identified and improved using several techniques such as elemental doping and metal alloying.

    Volkert van Steijn (PPE)
    “Discovering better microorganisms in a fed-batch laboratory-on-a-chip”
    The overall aim of the project is to enable screening of micro-organisms (yeast in particular) under industrially relevant conditions. To achieve this goal, Volkert will develop a microfluidic tool that enables the study of the growth and performance of yeast mutants inside micro droplets.
  • Cover Highlight Aerogels
    A paper of former postdoc Stefan Kuiper of the section of Organic Materials & Interfaces has been highlighted on the cover of the August 2013 issue of Macromolecular Materials and Engineering. The work is performed in collaboration with FeyeCon Carbon Dioxide Technologies, also co-funder of the AgentschapNL project on porous polymer foams prepared using supercritical CO2.

    The paper reports on a temperature-controlled, solution-based method to prepare diamine crosslinked aerogels of Matrimid, which is a thermoplastic, high-Tg polyimide. As compared to the more widely used post-treatment crosslinking processes, our method does not only result in gels that are more homogenous, it is also more flexible in terms of membrane/aerogel shapes and dimensions. Given the mesoporous structure of the aerogels that were prepared using preheated polymer solutions, our method may be of particular interest for the preparation of catalyst supports and separation membranes.
    Matrimid Aerogels by Temperature-controlled, Solution-based Crosslinking, Kuiper, S.; Embrechts, A.; de Vries, T.; Every, H.A.; de Smet, L.C.P.M.* Macromol. Mater. Eng. 2013, 298, 868–875. [doi]

  •  Papers Ruud van Ommen selected for RSC collection “Rising Stars and Young Nanoarchitects in Materials Science”
    The Royal Society of Chemistry (UK) has just published a web theme collection of the Journal of Materials Chemistry and related journals called “Rising Stars and Young Nanoarchitects in Materials Science”. This collection of 38 papers from top young researchers contains two papers by Ruud van Ommen and co-workers:
    M. Tahmasebpoor, L. de Martin, M. Talebi, N. Mostoufi,  J.R. van Ommen. “The role of the hydrogen bond in dense nanoparticle-gas suspensions” Phys. Chem.  Chem.  Phys. 15 (2013) 5788.
    A. Goulas,  J.R. van Ommen (2013). “Atomic layer deposition of platinum clusters on titania nanoparticles at atmospheric pressure” J. Mat. Chem. A 1 (2013) 4647.
    While the first paper focuses on the flow and interaction of nanoparticle agglomerates, the second paper describes how to use these systems to make novel nanostructured materials.
  • ERC Starting Grants for Boukany and Gascon
    Pouyan Boukany and Jorge Gascon, researchers of the TNW department Chemical Engineering, have both won an ERC Starting Grant. Boukany conducts research into how electroporation can be used for delivering DNA to cells. Gascon seeks to develop the gas separating membranes of the future.
    Please click here for more information
  • ChemE: ERC Proof of Concept Grant for Nanocatalysts
    This month, Ruud van Ommen and Aris Goulas (Product & Process Engineering) started working on the project “Core/shell nanoparticle electrocatalysts for fuel cell applications”. The project is funded by an ERC proof of concept grant to investigate the market potential of Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) coatings to make nanostructured catalysts. This grant is a top-up (150 kEuro) of the ERC starting grant that Van Ommen received in 2011. The ERC starting grant is more aimed at fundamental research concerning the dispersion and coating of nanoparticles in the gas phase: four PhD students and one post-doc are now working on this topic.
  • ChemE's Vidi laureates
    The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded Vidi grants to eight TU Delft scientists. The department ChemE is very proud that two of them are the ChemE membersRienk Eelkema andJorge Gascon. The NWO grant offers them the possibility of developing their own line of research and building their own research group. The scientists belong to the top ten to twenty per cent of their field. A Vidi grant enables them to do research for a period of five years. Each scientist receives a grant for a maximum of 800,000 euros.
  • Chemical Engineering at TU Delft in world top
    Chemical Engineering at the Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands is at the 10th position in the QS World University Rankings of 2013.
    The QS World University Rankings are generated by the British organization Quacquarelli Symonds. 2858 universities around the world are evaluated on different apsects, including scientific reputation, publications, citations, and judgment by peers. The opinion of the industry about the research and quality of graduates is also involved in the ranking. In this context, it is interesting to note that Shell recruits most academics from Delft.
    During the past few years Chemical Engineering at TU Delft has been innovated significantly. Research programs have been restructured and severel new research directions have been initiated. This has resulted in enhanced focus on nanostructured materials with potential appllications in the societal relevant fields of energy and health. In 2012 the 'TU Delft Process Technology Institute' was founded, which brings together knowledge and expertise of different research groups.
    The ranking in the top 10 is the results of activities of all TU Delft employees working on Chemical Engineering, in the departments Chemical Engineering, Biotechnology and the 'TU Delft Process Technology Institute'.
    For more information: Prof. dr. Ernst J.R Sudhölter, chairman Department of Chemical Engineering, email:
  • New PhD/PostDoc project on “Cadmium-free All-Inorganic Quantum Dots as Down-Conversion LED Phosphors”
    Arjan Houtepen (OM) has secured a research grant from Philips/STW in the partnership program “Advanced Sustainable Lighting Systems a project entitled has been granted”. The project is a collaboration with Prof. Liberato Manna (Kavli Institute and IIT Genova) and Philips research. A PhD student or post-doc will be appointed to work on the development “Cadmium-free All-Inorganic Quantum Dots as Down-Conversion LED Phosphors”.
    Colloidal Quantum Dots are seen as ideal candidates to replace current (red) phosphors in LEDs for general lighting as they could significantly enhance the overall LED efficacy. Current quantum-dot phosphors are however cadmium based, lack long-term photoluminescence stability and are difficult to incorporate into a manufacturable matrix material.
    This project aims to address the above issues by developing all-inorganic indium phosphide-based quantum dots for use as down conversion phosphors in LEDs. Two routes will be pursued to achieve this: 1) the synthesis of so-called “giant” Quantum Dots and 2) replacing the organic ligands of the InP QDs with recently developed inorganic ligands.  All-inorganic QDs embedded in the all-inorganic matrix should yield a high photoluminescence quantum efficiency, tunable and narrowband emission and long-term operational stability.
  •   Chemical Engineering paper on gel catalysis published in Nature Chemistry
    In the paper, a team led by Prof. Jan van Esch and Dr. Rienk Eelkema (Advanced Soft Matter) shows how the mechanical properties and structure of low molecular weight hydrogels can be controlled directly by catalytic action. In situ catalysis of the formation of gelator molecules provides access to metastable gel states with improved mechanical strength compared with uncatalysed gels that have an identical composition. Acid or aniline catalysis enables the formation of hydrogels with tunable gel-strength in a matter of minutes under ambient conditions from simple molecular building blocks.
    J. Boekhoven, J. M. Poolman, C. Maity, F. Li, L. van der Mee, C. B. Minkenberg, E. Mendes, J. H. van Esch & R. Eelkema, “Catalytic control over supramolecular gel formation” Nature Chem. 2013, doi:10.1038/nchem.1617;
  • Nature: super gel mimics cytoskeleton
    The first synthetic gel to mimic the so-called intermediate filaments that constitute the human cell cytoskeleton was created by Chemists at Radboud University Nijmegen.  The gel made from helical polymers, exhibits the same mechanical properties of protein filaments gels that provide the cells in our bodies with their strength. Each cell contains thousands of these very thin but strong threads. The Nijmegen chemists Prof. Alan Rowan and Dr Paul Kouwer were inspired by these proteins and were able to mimic the winding structure of these proteins using a synthetic polymer -polyisocyanide (PIC). Together with Prof. Stephen Picken and Dr. Eduardo Mendes from the Department of Chemical Engineering at TU Delft, the rheological properties of the gel were analysed. The molecules twist together to form a ‘nano rope', from which strong, stiff networks are produced. Also unusual is that a solution of the material is liquid when cold and turns into a gel when warmed - exactly the opposite of what happens to gelatine, for example. The leading scientific journal Nature just published a paper showing how the ‘super gel' works and explaining its biomimetic properties on 24 January. Together with the business community, the researchers are also developing various biomedical applications for this extraordinary gel.
    Responsive biomimetic networks from polyisocyanopeptide hydrogels, Nature 2013, January 24 
    Paul H. J. Kouwer, Matthieu Koepf, Vincent A. A. Le Sage, Maarten Jaspers, Arend M. van Buul, Zaskia H. Eksteen-Akeroyd, Tim Woltinge, Erik Schwartz, Heather J. Kitto, Richard Hoogenboom, Stephen J. Picken, Roeland J. M. Nolte, Eduardo Mendes and Alan E. Rowan

    More information from Nature:
    Information from RUN:
  •  Kavli/ChemE-OM paper highlighted in Nature PhotonicsThe paper “Fast and efficient Photodetection in Nanoscale quantum-dot junctions”, which is a joint paper by the Kavli institute of Nanoscience and the Optoelectronic Materials section of the ChemE department, was published in the November issue of Nano Letters. It has now been highlighted in the January issue of Nature Photonics and has also been covered by Nanotechweb and Physics World: and efficient Photodetection in Nanoscale quantum-dot junctions
    Ferry Prins, Michele Buscema, Johannes S. Seldenthuis, Samir Etaki, Gilles Buchs, Maria Barkelid, Val Zwiller, Yunan Gao, Arjan J. Houtepen, Laurens D. A. Siebbeles, and Herre S. J. van der ZantNano Lett. 12, pp 5740-5743, 2012
  •  Boukany received Marie Curie Career Integration Grant (CIG)

    Pouyan Boukany (ChemE PPE) has been recently awarded a Marie Curie Career Integration Grant (CIG), granted by the European Commission. Pouyan will use this grant to work on single cell electroporation and DNA dynamics inside Nanofluidics. The main aim of this research project is to understand and control the transport of DNA in electroporation treatment such that stable, safe and efficient gene transfection can be achieved.
  •  Eco2CO2 granted projectThe European Union granted the Eco2CO2 project in which the ChemE section of Catalysis Engineering (CE) is involved. The project aims at exploiting a photo-electro-chemical (PEC) CO2 conversion route to produce metha­nol as a key intermediate for the production of fine chemicals (fragrances, flavourings, cresol, adhesives,…) integrated with a lingo-cellulosic biorefinery. A distinct improvement in the ecological footprint of the envisaged chemical industries will thus be achieved by: i) boosting the potential of ligno-cellulosic biorefineries by exploiting secondary by-products such as furfurals or lignin; ii) providing a non-negligible contribution to the re­duction of CO2 release into the atmosphere by exploitation of sunlight as an energy source. The project will run for 3.5 years and total project will take 527 man months. Besides TU Delft, Avantium Chemicals, Politecnico di Torino, ERIC (European Research Institute of Catalysis), CTQC (Centro Tecnologico de la Quimica de Cataluña), Repsol, ChemTex, Solaronix, and IREC participate in the project.  ( Michiel Makkee).
  •  New FOM program on quantum interference effects in single molecules
    The foundation for the fundamental research on mater (FOM) has funded five new research programs in which excellent research groups are brought together to study subjects with a clear scientific urgency. One of the programs involves a collaboration between researchers from the Delft University of Technology and Leiden University with the aim to study quantum interference effects occurring in single molecules.
    In this program, researchers from the Department of Chemical Engineering (Ferdinand Grozema (OM) and Rienk Eelkema (SAS)) will collaborate with colleagues from the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience (Herre van der Zant and Jos Thijssen) and the University of Leiden (Jan van Ruitenbeek and Sense Jan van der Molen) with a total of five PhD students and one postdoctoral reasearcher. 
    The Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM) has provided funding for two PhD students to study "Hot electrons in cool nanocrystals". The aim is to provide understanding of the relaxation of energetic ("hot") charges in semiconductor nanocrystals. Reducing relaxation of energetic charges by heat formation is important for applications such as hot electron transistors, cascade lasers, detectors, solar cells and solar fuels. The project combines expertise and resources of two teams with a recent record of very successful collaboration: the group of Laurens Siebbeles  (Optoelectronic Materials Section in ChemE) at TU Delft and the group of Tom Gregorkiewicz at the University of Amsterdam. The way in which energetic charges transfer their excess energy to atomic vibrations in nanocrystals will be studied using ultrafast laser spectroscopy.
  • ChemE scientists successful on half marathon !
    On October 21 a team of 10 (!) ChemE scientist has taken part in the half marathon in Amsterdam. The team included MSc students, PhD students, postdocs and staff members from several sections and all runners finished the race. The fastest runner was our champion of the EWI stairs running event, Simon Boehme who finished in an amazing time of 1:27:30 ! In the pictures below you can see the team before and after the race.
  • It is with great pride and pleasure that we can inform you that mrs. Anita van Haren, who joined the former MSP department in January 2012, and presently is the secretary of our ChemE/TP group, has been elected as "TU Delft Secretary of the Year".
  •  Prof. Chris Klein, Applied Sciences Teacher of the Year 2012
    On Wednesday 12 September, the ‘Applied Sciences Teachers of the Year’ were selected in the Aula Congress Centre. The candidates were nominated via a student vote, and a Teacher of the Year was selected for each degree programme, in consultation with the Dean. Among the winners is  Prof. Chris Kleijn from the section Transport Phenomena of ChemE (Applied Physics/AP). We would like to congratulate Prof. Chris Klein with his title Teacher of the Year 2012! 
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