Research

The Centre for Molecular Water Science (CMWS) is a pan-European consortium of international key partners from different fields of science (Physics, Chemistry, Biology) with the common goal of achieving a detailed molecular understanding of water.

Eminent developments concerning the physical nature of our planet and environment related to climate changes, the need for carbonless energy production and the demand for pure water, all call for a molecular-scale understanding of water. This is a non-trivial task since even the basic science of water has still to be completely understood. We are still unaware about its microstructure, i.e., exactly how water molecules organize themselves in the liquid form, at surfaces, and around biomolecules and how this organization evolves in time since water is clearly dynamic in nature with hydrogen bonds that form and dissolve on sub-picosecond timescales. Answering such questions on molecular length and various (ultrafast) time-scales calls for the most advanced experimental and theoretical tools that have just become available with the start of operation of the most advanced X-Ray Free Electron Laser, the European XFEL in Hamburg. At the same time the most powerful 4th generation synchrotron radiation light source, the ESRF-EBS (Extremely Brilliant Source) in Grenoble (France), is about to resume operation preceded just recently by MAX4 (Lund, Sweden) and to be followed by mostof the synchrotron radiation sources worldwide including in particular also PETRA IV in Hamburg. Joining forces with our partners and enabling complementary techniques (such as different spectroscopy techniques covering large areas of the electromagnetic spectrum from NMR to X-rays) and experimental capabilities (nanofluidics, micro-and nanojets) brings us in a position to solve the most relevant scientific secrets on water that nature has left us to explore. These can be organized in five strategic pillars each answering specific and overarching questions that are strongly interconnected. The overarching themes are related to, for example, the behavior of water in the vicinity of interfaces and surfaces and its role in climate-and energy-related questions. The five central themes, organized in strategic pillars are: Fundamental Properties of Water, Water in Geophysics, Climate and Environment, Water in Energy Research and Technology, Real-Time Chemical Dynamics and Water in the Molecular Life Sciences.

5 Research Areas

Early Science Program (ESP)