Argonne National Laboratory

Institute for Molecular Engineering
The new Institute for Molecular Engineering explores innovative technologies that address fundamental societal problems through advances in nanoscale manipulation and design at a molecular scale.

Addressing Societal Problems with Molecular Science

With renowned scientists from around the world, the Institute for Molecular Engineering is defining a nascent field of study that has the potential to address fundamental problems of societal import. The Institute was created in partnership with the University of Chicago and builds on the tradition of collaboration and cutting-edge research well established at Argonne and the University.

The institute conducts research at the intersection of chemical, electrical, mechanical, and biological engineering as well as materials, biological, and physical sciences. The institute's work exploring innovative technologies in nanoscale manipulation and design at a molecular scale has the potential for societal impact in such areas as energy, health care, and the environment. The institute benefits from leading scientists and engineers and the world-class facilities at Argonne, including the Advanced Photon Source, the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, and the Center for Nanoscale Materials.

A New Field

The Institute of Molecular Engineering is at the forefront of an emerging field. This exciting new field involves the incorporation of synthetic molecular building blocks including electronic, optical, mechanical, chemical, and biological components into functional systems that will impact technologies from advanced medical therapies to quantum computing.

This isn't going to be directed narrowly toward one scientific discipline, but at creating an institute that attacks societal problems from a technological viewpoint. — Matthew Tirrell, the founding Pritzker Director of the Institute.

"Many important societal problems in energy or health care or the environment can be addressed by new molecular-level science. When you are trying to solve problems, you need people from different kinds of disciplines. That's something the Institute for Molecular Engineering can create right from the beginning."

University Partner

The University of Chicago's excellence in physics, chemistry, and molecular biology are a vital resource for the institute because molecular engineers explore nature at the nanoscale and build new materials and devices with atomic precision. Scientists in this sub-microscopic realm rely on deep expertise in these basic sciences in order to do their work. To facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration, the institute will share the Eckhardt Research Center with portions of the Physical Sciences Division and will also be closely located to the Biological Sciences Division, Pritzker School of Medicine, and University of Chicago Medical Center.