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Supramolecular Chemistry

Module CH3216

This Module is offered by TUM Department of Chemistry.

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Basic Information

CH3216 is a semester module in English language at Master’s level which is offered in summer semester.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • Elective Modules Natural Sciences in the Master Program Matter to Life
Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
150 h 45 h 5 CP

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


1) An introduction to Supramolecular Chemistry, Self-assembly, Supramolecular Materials and Molecular Machines.
2) Supramolecular chemistry; Nobel Prize in 1987
3) Basics: Molecular non-covalent interactions
4) Basics: Thermodynamics
5) Catenanes, rotaxanes and knots
6) An introduction into the self-assembly of molecules.
7) Self-assembly: Amphiphiles
8) Self-assembly: Peptides
9) Self-assembly: Liquid Crystals
10) Non-equilbrium self-assembly: energy landscapes of self-assembly
11) Non-equilbrium self-assembly: active self-assembly
12) Supramolecular Materials: self-assembly into structures with function.
13) Supramolecular Materials: self-assembled hydrogels
14) Molecular machines; Nobel Prize 2016
15) Exam

Learning Outcome

After successful participation in this module the student will be able to:
- Recall and understand the non-covalent interactions between molecules.
- Recall and understand the thermodynamic driving force involved in assembly of supramolecular structures.
- Molecularly design an amphiphile
- Molecular design a self-assembly peptides
- Molecularly design liquid crystals
- Recall functions of self-assembled structures
- Recall mechanisms involved in molecular machines.


Basic knowledge in in organic molecular chemistry (CH0109, CH0132) basic knowledge in physical chemistry(CH4104).

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Learning and Teaching Methods

The module consists of a lecture and an exercise. After teaching the basics of supramolecular, non covalent interactions the topics are deepened on specific examples such as Amphiphiles, Peptides and Liquid Crystals. Thematic blocks on Non-Equilibrium self-assembly, self assembly hydrogels and molecular machines complete the topics. The gradual structure should consolidate the learning experience. The contents of the lecture are conveyed through presentations. In addition, the students should work through relevant textbook chapters, which may also be supplemented by further literature, e.g. selected journal articles.
As part of the exercises, specific questions are answered and selected examples are worked on. This gives the students the opportunity to deepen and work on topics and facts from the preliminary lecture.


PowerPoint, Skript


Jonathan Steed and Jerry Atwood: Supramolecular Chemistry. (wiley, 2009)

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

The examination is provided in the form of a written examination. The exam duration is 90 minutes. In this exam, students should demonstrate that they are able to distinguish between supramolecular polymers and classical polymers. They are able to name the unique properties of a supramolecular polymer and they are able to compare the advantages and disadvantages of these polymers. The students are able to show on different examples possible polymerization mechanism. They are able to give distinguished examples of non-equilibrium self-assemblies, self-assembly hydrogels, and molecular machines. Tasks are provided which have to be answered by means of self-phrased texts as well as multiple choice.

Exam Repetition

The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester.

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