Centre for Frustrated Molecular Interactions

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    Universitetsvej 1, Bygning 27

    4000 Roskilde


Organisation profile

Organisation profile

The research centre is a cross-disciplinary intradepartmental collaboration focused on the use of x-ray, neutron and light scattering to understand the structure and dynamics of self-assembly in soft matter and biology.

Department of Science and Environment (INM) hosts expertise across the department using various scattering methods to study different aspects of self-assembly related problems, both in soft matter and in biology. The centre is aimed to forge and facilitate new in-house collaborative efforts and form the basis for new cross-disciplinary reseach projects. Additionally, the clear and visible profile will attract students on all levels.

The Centre will also emphasize the use of techniques complementary to scattering methods, such as NMR and cryo-electron microscopy, in order to provide input to and constraints in modelling of scattering data. The centre will be visible in the Danish scattering milieu and will benefit from the coming world-class research infrastructure, ESS (European Spallation Source) and MAX IV (Synchrotron source) in Lund, Sweden.

About the research area

Nano-scale self-organized structures are central building blocks in both nano technological devices and in many biological systems and materials. The self-assembly of macromolecules into such structures is driven by the release of molecular frustration, e.g. when amphiphilic lipid molecules in aqueous suspension aggregate into the basic bilayer structure of a biological membrane or when diblock copolymers microphase separate into sophisticated 3D structures driven by an unfavorable interaction between the two ends of the block copolymer.

Scattering methods that employ x-rays or neutrons provide invaluable structural information on self-assembling aggregates and the kinetics of the aggregation process. In order to obtain an understanding of the full system under investigation, whether biological or synthetic, it is of crucial importance to combine structural and dynamical investigations. A prominent example is the gap between the knowledge of the physico-chemical properties of a biological model membrane and the understanding of a whole functioning cell. Scattering based techniques obtaining dynamical information are indispensable in order to bridge such gaps and push the frontiers of knowledge in soft matter and in biology.


The Centre is coordinating participation in INSTRUCT, DANSCATT and other relevant national and international organizations. The centre aims to contribute significantly to the Danish ESS lighthouses in soft matter/polymers and in structural biology.

An annual meeting is organized for the purpose of presenting ongoing research, with a focus on student projects at all levels.

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