Research in ZEMOS

Center for Solvation Science - Zentrum für molekulare Spektroskopie und Simulation solvensgesteuerter Prozesse

Research areas in ZEMOS

What is Solvation Science about?

The majority of chemical reactions, including many that are central to important industrial and virtually all biological processes, take place in a liquid-state environment. Solvents – with water being the most prominent – are used to “solvate” molecular species ranging from industrial reagents to biological molecules in living cells. Solvents also “wet” surfaces such as lipid membranes or metal electrodes, thus creating new interfaces. Understanding solvation is not only relevant to these issues, but will stimulate major advances in emerging key technologies, such as green chemistry and electrochemistry. It is essential for optimizing industrial processes, avoiding environmental hazards, preventing corrosion, or increasing energy efficiency, to list a few key challenges relevant to society. In the life sciences, water is the ubiquitous solvent, sometimes even called the “matrix of life”; understanding its function is crucial for comprehensively unraveling key biological functions. The research areas which are addressed by ZEMOS are structured in three cross-linked topics:

  • A: Understanding and Exploiting Solvation in Chemical Processes
  • B: Connecting Solvation Dynamics with Biomolecular Function
  • C: Ion Solvation and Charge Transfer at Interfaces

A unifying framework for understanding and predicting solvent processes

In ZEMOS at Ruhr-Universität Bochum international working groups interdisciplinarily explore the new research field Solvation Science. We use the various laboratories and simulation clusters equipped with the most modern techniques, as well as the advantages of the open and communicative architecture of the building.

What effects do solvent molecules have on diverse phenomena like corrosion, deep sea life or enzymatic reactions in cells? Since 2016, we combine our expertise in chemistry, physics and biology to answer these and similar questions.

ZEMOS’ mission is to provide a fruitful environment for enlightening research including fully equiped, state-of-the-art laboratories as well as modern, team work enhancing communicative work spaces for researchers who work to establish Solvation Science as a new discipline and to provide society with valuable knowledge for future applications.

We apply laser spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, molecular dynamics simulations and other cutting-edge technologies. We investigate the faintest interactions between solvent molecules, like water, and the molecules of dissolved materials, like proteins or iron for example. Our research is essential to advance technologies that could reduce pollution, increase the efficiency of energy conversion and storage, prevent corrosion, or enhance drug delivery.


RESOLV is an interdisciplinary research project of Ruhr University Bochum and TU Dortmund University, and four other institutions in the German Ruhr area.


Research Department Solvation Science

...dedicated to collaborative research exploring all aspects of solvation in an interdisciplinary approach @ RUB.


Instruments in ZEMOS

ZEMOS has several high-end scientific instruments for shared use like spectrometers, microscopes, mass-spectrometers, HPLC, AFM etc.