Monique van der Veen

Research                   Teaching                   Biography                   Publications

One part of my research focusses on processes on photosynthesis of chemical fuels. Solar energy is the most abundant form of sustainable energy that can replace fossil fuels, yet synthesizing chemical fuels photocatalytically, needs to improve greatly in efficiency. The best performing photocatalytic systems are assemblies of multiple components. For an overall high efficiency, it is of paramount importance that transfer of the photogenerated charges between each of the components is efficient. Mechanistic insight would provide the platform for rational design of these materials to improve this transfer. The versatility of metal-organic frameworks form an excellent platform to unravel the mechanisms governing charge transfer. For this research spectroscopic techniques are needed that are sensitive to the photo-excited and photo-generated processes in the solids. This can be done by pump-probe spectroscopy. Pump-probe spectroscopy can provide spectra of  photogenerated events on the subpicosecond up to microsecond time scale: the whole transfer of excited charges and catalytic bond breaking and forming can be followed.  

An introduction to the topic can be found in: 

Nasalevich, M.A., van der Veen, M., Kapteijn, F., Gascon, J. Metal–organic frameworks as heterogeneous photocatalysts: advantages and challenges. CrystEngComm, 2014, 16(23), 4919-4926.

figure website

Another part of my research focusses on crystal engineering of nanoporous materials for non-linear optical applications and electronics. A detailed insight in the precise structure and phase transitions of the materials is needed here. Therefore, X-ray diffraction analysis, typically used for crystal structure refinement, is complemented with Second-Harmonic Generation Microscopy to reveal non-centrosymmetric order and variations within the structure of individual crystallites. Moreover, the synthesis of rationally designed improved structures is enabled by understanding of the crystal growth process. For nanoporous materials, this typically this occurs in the liquid phase, or at the liquid/solid interface, this means that especially the first stages of growth are typically obscured for traditional spectroscopic methods. We apply non-linear optical scattering in solution and surface enhanced raman spectroscopy to tackle these growth stages.   

Figure website 2

Major research topics 


  • Optimization of photocatalysis of metal-organic frameworks via ultrafast spectroscopy: Jara Garcia
  • Metal Organic Frameworks in photocatalysis: Maxim Nasalevich

Liquid phase heterogeneous catalysis

  • Dancing catalysis: Steven Deckers

Crystal growth and crystal engineering

  • Nonlinear optical metal-organic frameworks:: Karen Markey
  • Homogeneous growth of metal-organic frameworks: dr. Stijn Vancleuvenbergen 
  • Electrochemical growth of metal-organic frameworks: Philipp Schäfer