Physical Chemistry, before 1964 at Chalmers named “Theoretical Chemistry”, on one hand represents the theoretical framework of chemistry, based on the laws of physics, to explain structure and interaction behavior of molecules. The subject also involves experiments: measuring the interactions of the molecules, with each other or with energy - heat or electromagnetic radiation. Four subfields of physical chemistry are: thermodynamics, quantum chemistry, spectroscopy and photochemistry, all of which are central both in research as well as in teaching at the division.
Our current research addresses problems related to both fundamentals and applications of biological function as well as to how energy and electron transfer may occur within or between molecules and be utilized for technological purposes. The DNA molecule is central in several projects being both the target for biologically relevant specific interactions and also a self-recognizing system that may be artificially exploited for building up supra-molecular structures. In addition, theoretical computations are used for modeling and understanding the function of molecules at an atomistic level, such as how photons interact with molecular systems or for explaining mechanical energy transfer and function of complex enzymes.
The possible practical applications of the research span from molecular electronics, solar energy harvesting, molecular logic processors and bottom-up nanotechnological constructs to various biotechnical applications including cell-membrane penetrating drugs, specific gene-targeting agents, gene-sequencing devices to design of artificial enzymes.