The scientific focus of the department encompasses both experimental research and theoretical and computational research. The area of experimental research is directed towards the preparation, characterization, and targeted modification of nanostructured materials, including the study, analysis, and manipulation of surface properties for a wide range of application areas such as heterogeneous catalysis, biosensors, photonics, biological and medical applications, and more. The theoretical and computational research area focuses on the study of molecular assemblies, biomacromolecules, and computational chemistry. The department contributes to research in areas with broad application potential, ranging from chemical catalysis and molecular medicine to clinical healthcare.
Among the numerous scientific outputs of the department, several examples can be mentioned, such as:
- Synthesis and modification of noble metal nanoparticles, iron nanoparticles, and iron oxides, which find applications as heterogeneous catalysts, drugs, or drug carriers, contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging, theranostic applications, and as active particles for wastewater treatment or decomposition of warfare agents.
- Preparation and characterization of graphene oxide, which is utilized in a wide range of applications.
- Controlled preparation of noble metal nanoparticles and their deposition on surfaces for antimicrobial and sensor applications (Raman spectroscopy) or in the field of photothermal and photodynamic therapy.
- Development of new methods and procedures in the field of computational chemistry, such as developed force fields used for RNA and DNA simulations or the tool MOLEonline for analyzing biomacromolecular cavities.
The quality of scientific work is evidenced by numerous publications in renowned journals such as Chemical Reviews, Nature Nanotechnology, Nature Communications, Nature Chemical Biology, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Advanced Materials, Advanced Functional Materials, Angewandte Chemie, Small, Journal of Physical Chemistry, Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, ACS Nano, Chemistry of Materials, Journal of Materials Chemistry, Chemistry A European Journal, and Langmuir. The department also receives financial support through domestic and international grant projects. The department’s staff is involved in research within grant projects funded by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Czech Science Foundation, Technology Agency of the Czech Republic, Ministry of Industry and Trade, and Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic. In many research areas, the department collaborates not only with various domestic and international institutions but also with numerous industrial partners.
The Department of Physical Chemistry collaborates with several experts of international reputation, such as RNDr. Štefan Vajda, CSc., Dr. habil. (Department of Nanocatalysis, J. Heyrovsky Institute of Physical Chemistry), who specializes in studying the catalytic properties of clusters and particles smaller than 1 nm. Another collaborator is Prof. RNDr. Jiří Šponer, DrSc., a leading expert in the field of RNA computer simulations. Within the university center CATRIN, the department cooperates, for example, with Prof. RNDr. Michal Otyepka, Ph.D., who has made significant contributions to the development of modeling methods for complex molecular systems.
The research program can be summarized as follows:
- Study of specific physicochemical properties of nanomaterials with practical applications in mind.
- Iron nanoparticles and iron oxides and their applications.
- Carbon nanostructures (preparation of graphene and its derivatives, carbon dots, modified carbon nanotubes).
- Preparation, toxicity, and biological effects of metal nanoparticles and their use in medicine (antimicrobial effects, photothermal therapy, photodynamic therapy).
- Heterogeneous catalysis.
- Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy and its use in medicine for detecting biological markers or microorganisms.
- Study of protein and nucleic acid structure, dynamics, and properties.
- Theoretical study of non-covalent interactions and their applications in life sciences and nanom