Prof Martijn Zwijnenburg

Prof Martijn Zwijnenburg

Professor of Computational Materials Chemistry

Dept of Chemistry

Faculty of Maths & Physical Sciences

Joined UCL
1st Oct 2010

Research summary

In our group we use computational methods, for example time-dependent density functional theory (TD-DFT), to study what happens to materials after they absorb light. We try to understand processes such as photoluminescence and photocatalysis, and aim to predict how these are influenced by factors such a material’s composition, structure and morphology. We collaborate closely with several experimental groups to complement our theoretical results with experimental verification and design better materials for important application such as renewable hydrogen production through photocatalytic water splitting. As a side-line, we are also very interested in structure prediction methods, such as basin-hopping, that allow one to predict the lowest energy structures for a material (periodic solid, nanoparticle or polymer) given only its composition. 

For more information see https://www.zwijnenburg-group.org.


Martijn obtained his PhD in Chemical Engineering at Delft Technical University, Delft, the Netherlands, in 2004. His thesis, supervised by Dr. Stefan Bromley and Profs. Koos Jansen and Thomas Maschmeyer, focussed on the modelling of a range of siliceous materials, including zeolites and silica nanostructures.

After a brief stint as a postdoc in Delft, working on an industrially sponsored project for synthesizing zeolites nanoparticles, Martijn moved to London to work in the group of Dr. Rob Bell at the Davy Faraday Laboratory of the Royal Institution of Great Britain.  His work there, funded through personal Marie Curie and Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, NWO, Talent fellowships, focussed on the screening of hypothetical zeolite frameworks and the study of chalcogenide porous materials.

In 2007, Martijn moved to Barcelona to work in the group of Prof. Francesc Illas at the University of Barcelona. His work there, funded through a personal Juan de la Cierva fellowship, focussed on crystal structure prediction of inorganic materials and the exploration of the energy landscape of inorganic nanostructures. He also started work on modelling the optical properties and photochemistry of inorganic nanostructures.

In 2010 Martijn received a Career Acceleration Fellowship from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and returned to London to work at University College London’s Chemistry Department. Here he started his own research group working primarily on modelling the photo- and electrochemistry of materials, photocatalysis and understanding the structures of self-assembled and polymeric materials. In 2012 he accepted a lectureship in the department and in 2016 was promoted to Reader (associate professor).

Martijn has published more than 80 articles in international journals and co-edited a book on the computational modelling of inorganic nanomaterials. He also organised a number of international conferences and workshops, most recently a workshop on polymers as photocatalysts, and gave invited talks at a number of invited talks at (inter)national conferences.