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Thomas Bjørnholm

Thomas Bjørnholm


Born May 29, 1960
Married to Berith Bjørnholm 
Children: Katrine (1990), Josefine (1994) and Jonatan (1997)

Selected academic experience and positions

1990 PhD in Materials Chemistry from the University of Copenhagen 1989 NATO Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, San Diego 1992 Associate Professor at the Chemistry Department, University of Copenhagen 1997 Visiting Professor, University of Texas at Austin 2000 Professor (5 y. appointment) of Materials Chemistry, University of Copenhagen 2001 Appointed Director of the Nano-Science Center at the University of Copenhagen 2005 Professor of Materials Chemistry, University of Copenhagen 2010 Prorector, University of Copenhagen

Elected memberships of scientific organizations

  • The Danish Natural Science Research Council, FNU (2005 - 2009)
  • The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters (2004 -)
  • The Danish Academy of Technical Sciences, ATV (2003 -)
  • The Danish Natural Science Academy (1993 -)
  • "The Danish Board of Technology" (2005 - 2008 )
  • European Comission Program Committee for Nanotechnology (2009 - 11)

Leadership, research awards and other activities (selected)

  • Initiator and leader of the Nano-Science Center for Research, Education and Technology Transfer at the University of Copenhagen including a new Bachelor, Masters, and Ph.D. education in nanoscience & -technology (2001 - 10)
  • Principal investigator for Center of Excellence in Synthetic Biology supported by the Danish Ministry of Science and Technology by a UNIK grant of 120 MDKK (2009 – 2014)
  • Principal investigator for Sino-Danish Center of Excellence in Molecular Nanoelectronics supported by the Danish Basic Research Foundation by 15 MKK (2009 – 2015)
  • Head of Copenhagen Graduate School for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology supported by the Danish Research Councils (2003 – 10)
  • Recipient and PI of Program of Excellence in ‘Single molecule nanoscience’ 25 MDKK from Univ. of Copenhagen (2008-12)
  • Recipient of “Direktør Ib Henriksen Fondens” research prize, 250.000 DKK (2004)
  • Recipient of Ellen and Niels Bjerrum’s prize and gold medal (1999)
  • Evaluator for numerous international funding bodies and prize committees incl. Centers of Excellence in Finland and Germany
  • Active member of 6 EU projects. Coordinator of FP7 project “SINGLE”
  • Board member of: Carlsberg Chemistry Prize, Nano-Øresund, Department of Chemistry at Copenhagen University (1998-2008), Venture capital company “CAT” (2007-2008); Copenhagen Capacity (2013- ); Copenhhagen Bio Science Park (2012-); Bikuben Kollegie Fond (2013-); Symbion Fond (2014-;chair)
  • Organizer of numerous international conferences and workshops most recently as co-host of the NanoTechnology in Northern Europe (NTNE) Conference in Copenhagen, Sept. 2008, and chairman of the 10th European Conference on Molecular Electronics (Copenhagen, 2009)
  • Guest editor to special issue of “Journal of Physics” on Molecular Electronics (2007-2008)
  • INSEAD "Challenge of Leadership" graduate (2013)

Current research interests

Molecular electronics, supramolecularel chemistry, bio-nanotechnology, Langmuir-Blodgett films, nanochemistry. Major achievements include the first measurement of the nanoscale dewetting of extended hydrophobic surfaces in water (Phys. Rev. Lett. 90, 086101 (2003); P. Ball, News & Views, Nature 423, 25- 26 (2003)) and the first measurements of a single pi-conjugated organic molecule in a single electron transistor device visiting a number of distinct redox states (Nature 425, 698 - 701 (2003)). About a decade of work related to supramolcular assembly of electronic nanostructures at the air-water interfaced was reviewed in an invited feature article for Chemical Communications (Chem. Commun. 14, 1812-1823 (2005). More recently work has focused on single molecule electronics (Nature Nanotechnology, 4, 551-556 (2009)) and single molecule kinetics as well as nanobiotechnology and synthetic biology.

Innovation and technology transfer

As Director of Nano-Science Center Thomas Bjørnholm has resumed the over-all responsibility for technology transfer of the research at the Center to Danish companies. Since 2003, this activity has involved a number of patents and active collaboration with many companies (e.g. Novozymes, Maersk Olie og Gas) and start-up of several companies within the Nano-Science Center. Thomas Bjørnholm was a member of the patent board of the Tech-Trans unit at the University of Copenhagen, and member of the board of CAT Management ApS (a venture capital company, 2007-2008) and the Danish Board of Technology (2005-2008).  Since 2010 Thomas Bjørnholm has resumed the overall responsibility for innovation and technology transfer at the University of Copenhagen.

Invited lectures

˜ 80 at international conferences, ˜ 90 at universities and other research institutions, ˜ 40 for the general public.

External funding covering the period from 2001 – 2009

From European sources: ˜ 65 MDKK and from Danish sources ˜ 500 MDKK both including general fund raising for the broader activities at the Nano-Science Center.

Supervision of PhD and masters students

˜ 25 PhD and ˜ 20 master students have graduated with Thomas Bjørnholm as main supervisor during the period from 1994 – present. ˜ 20 Post Docs have been trained by Thomas Bjørnholm.


Since 1986, around 200 publications have been accepted for peer reviewed international journals including sevearl contributions to Science or Nature journals. In addition about 16 papers have been published in conference proceedings, 4 as book chapters, 2 patents and ˜ 27 in more popular journals.


Selected recent publication

Moth Poulsen, K., Bjørnholm T.  Molecular electronics with single molecules in solid-state devices  Nature Nanotechnology, 4, 551-556 (2009) 

Jain, T., Westerlund, F., Johnson, E., Moth-Poulsen, K., Bjørnholm, T. Self-Assembled Nanogaps via Seed-Mediated Growth of End-to-End Linked Gold Nanorods ACS Nano3,  828-834  (2009) 

Westerlund, F., Bjørnholm, T. Directed Assembly of Gold Nanoparticles Current Opinion in Colloids and Interface Science, 14, 126-134 (2009)



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