• Nijenborgh4, Gebouw 5117, ruimte 0001

    9747 AG Groningen


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Personal profile


Maxim S. Pshenchnikov obtained his MSc and PhD from Moscow State University in 1983 and 1987, respectively. In 1992, he moved to the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, as a postdoctoral fellow, to join the staff in 1996, first at the department of chemistry, and since 2006 at the department of physics. In the early 90s, he began to design experiments and theoretical description of femtosecond spectroscopy on liquid state dynamics. He with co-workers was the first to report time-gated and heterodyne-detected photon echoes from solutions. He also contributed to the “ultrafast technology revolution”, with culminated in 1998 with the Guinness Book of World Records certificate awarded for “The shortest flashes of light produced and measured, lasted for 4.5 femtosecond”. In the 2000s, his research was mainly focused on hydrogen-bond dynamics in liquids and at (bio)interfaces. He was amongst the first to report infrared photon echoes from liquid and nanoconfined water. Later, he focused on exciton and charge-separation dynamics in organic solar cells, and antenna-enhanced upconversion. His current research interests cover a wide range of ultrafast phenomena in organic materials at nanoscopic lengths and femtosecond time scales, with a particular focus on exciton and molecular motors dynamics.

M.S. Pshenichnikov is a member Optical Society of America (OSA); American Chemical Society (ACS); American Materials Research Society (MRS) and Ubbo Emmius Collegii (Groningen). He also maintains a number of national and international research collaborations which facilitates the application of ultrafast spectroscopy to most interesting and challenging problems.

M.S. Pshenichnikov coordinated and received a 3.8 MEuro European Innovative Training Network (ITN) grant “Spins for Efficient Photovoltaic Devices based on Organic Molecules” (SEPOMO) with 8 academic and 3 industrial partners (2016), and an NWO grant for the proposal “Self-assembly pathways of an artificial light harvesting complex” (2020).


“We use optical spectroscopy study a wide range of ultrafast phenomena in organic materials at nanoscopic lengths and femtosecond (0.000000000000001 s) time scale, with the main focus on exciton and charge dynamics in energy-related and bio-inspired materials, and molecular motors”

Top 3 publications (ORCID ID: http://orcid.org/0000-0002-5446-4287)

  1. Björn Kriete, Julian Lüttig, Tenzin Kunsel, Pavel Malý, Thomas LC Jansen, Jasper Knoester, Tobias Brixner, Maxim S Pshenichnikov, Interplay between structural hierarchy and exciton diffusion in artificial light harvesting, Nature Communications 10, 4615 (1-11) (2019) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-12345-9

We investigated an artificial light-harvesting complex, inspired by the multi-walled tubular antenna network of photosynthetic bacteria found in nature. We demonstrated that such a complex is capable to adapt to changing illumination conditions: light harvesting at low light conditions and self-protection when there is too much light. Both properties pave the way to better control of the transport of energy through complex molecular materials.

  1. Lukas Pfeifer, Nong V Hoang, Stefano Crespi, Maxim S Pshenichnikov, Ben L Feringa, Dual-function artificial molecular motors performing rotation and photoluminescence. Science Advances 8, eadd0410 (2022) DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.add0410
  2. Ryojun Toyoda, Nong V. Hoang, Kiana Gholamjani Moghaddam, Stefano Crespi, Daisy R. S. Pooler, Shirin Faraji, Maxim S. Pshenichnikov & Ben L. Feringa. Synergistic interplay between photoisomerization and photoluminescence in a light-driven rotary molecular motor. Nature Communications 13, 5765 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-33177-0

In order to use molecular motors in applications, it would be very useful to be able to track their exact location with fluorescence microscopy. This implies two light-driven functionalities – rotation and fluorescence -- must be combined into one molecule which calls for a unique design. Here we report two different designs of such a motor. The first one features two different excited states: in one state, a photon drives rotation, while the other state causes the motor to fluoresce. These motors can also be powered by near-infrared light which is less harmful than more frequently-used UV light. In the second one, the fluorescent dye is positioned perpendicular to the upper part of the motor, to which it was attached which makes them virtually independent.

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or