The Olson Laboratory for Molecular Tectonics

Molecular Recognition, Self-Assembly, and Architectonic Tuning

Welcome to the Olson Research Group Website. We are affiliated with the Department of Chemistry at Northwestern University and the Institute for Molecular Design within the School of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology at Tianjin University. We work in the area of supramolecular soft matter material science and we seek to develop and manipulate switchable self-assembling materials. We are interested in understanding the role of accumulating long range non-covalent interactions and electrostatics in macromolecules and their ensembles. We develop materials that exhibit thermochromic, photochromic, hydrochromic, and electrochromic properties and explore their material processing into functional forms such as fibers, films, dyes, inks, membranes, and filters. Material science is one of our key tools and we have active research programs in developing switchable hydrogel rheology modifiers, and polymer and COF-based pollutant adsorbents for the remediation of contaminated waters. Template-directed synthesis and self-assembly is another area of research that we are currently active in. We have developed amphiphile and surfactant-based systems which undergo template-directed micellization, often leading to elongated micelles, lamellar stacking, helical assembly, and supramolecular polymerization. Some of our most fruitful work involve processing organic materials that exhibit the phenomena of donor-acceptor charge transfer in the solid state. These materials are designed to give rise to changing charge transfer absorption bands in the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum in response to external stimuli. This website is geared towards prospective graduate and undergraduate students interested in materials chemistry, supramolecular chemistry, organic chemistry, and soft matter science. If you are interested in learning more about our research, publications, current group members and more, feel free to browse the various sections of this site. 



Our work follows four simple tenants: model it, make it, measure it, publish it! We thrive on both intra- and inter-university collaborative research and we are always looking for new opportunities. Contact us now!