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Molecular Nanotechnology (MNT)


Admission requirements

Elective course for MSc Chemistry and MSc Life Science and Technology students.

A BSc degree in Chemistry, Molecular Science and Technology, Life Science and Technology or a related discipline with a good understanding of Organic Chemistry and some affinity with non-covalent interactions.

This course cannot be combined with the 2019-20 course Stereochemistry 4423STRCH in a master's programme.


Are we about to enter a new era in which synthetic molecular-sized machinery will perform useful tasks in our everyday life? We do not know for certain yet, but given the complex and essential tasks carried out by biological machinery, their artificial counterparts have the potential to revolutionize the future in medicine, materials science, and other fields. This course treats the subject of molecular nanotechnology and specifically deals with molecular systems that precisely control and exploit nanoscale motion that is induced by some kind of stimulus. After a general introduction, different types of molecular switches and machines, as well as the functions/tasks they are able to perform, will be discussed. Particular emphasis will be on their use to control lipid bilayer (transmembrane) transport and also other applications, e.g. in catalysis and nanorobotics, will be covered.

Course objectives

At the end of the course the student should be able to:

  • Identify and assign the different types of stereoisomerism and chirality

  • Illustrate how (dynamic) isomerization processes are influenced by stimuli

  • Explain how to control (unidirectional) rotational motion of/within molecules

  • Rationalize the synthesis and control of motion in mechanically interlocked molecules

  • Relate the output of a given molecular nanotechnology system or application to its input

  • Critically evaluate a research paper of choice that is associated with the course subject


Schedule information can be found on the website of the programmes.

You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

Lectures and tutorials.

Assessment method

Written examination (70%) and 2-page literature essay (30%).

Reading list

References to scientific literature will be provided during the course.


From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.

Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.


Dr. Sander Wezenberg


According to OER article 4.8, students are entitled to view their marked examination for a period of 30 days following the publication of the results of a written examination. Students should contact the lecturer to make an appointment for such an inspection session.