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Welcome to the van der Veen lab!


We are an interdisciplinary research group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While being part of the Department of Chemistry, our labs and offices are located in the Materials Research Laboratory and we are affiliated with the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.



We use ultrafast pump-probe methods to study atomic-scale mechanisms of light-induced processes such as photo-switching, photovoltaics and photocatalysis. Ultrashort probing pulses based on X-rays and electrons allow us to reveal atomic structural changes in the material after laser excitation, while spectroscopic methods are used to unravel energy relaxation pathways.

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The van der Veen lab has moved!

We are sad and happy at the same time that our lab has moved over the big pond - to Germany! Renske started her new position as Associate Professor and Department Head at the Helmholtz Center for Materials and Energy in Berlin in June 2021. We miss the great facilities at UIUC and life in the Midwest, but we're excited about new adventures to come!


If you are in Berlin, feel free to say "hi". We'd be happy to show you around!


August 2023: Frank's papers are published in Nano Letters and J. Phys. Chem. C. Congratulations!


February 2023 - Rachel receives a fellowship from the German Academic Exchange Service!

January 2023 - Frank's paper is published in Nature Reviews Chemistry!

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