By Prof. Dr. Johan Hofkens

The emerging field of nano-science/nano technology has been driven by and requires the development of novel tools/techniques for observing at the nanoscale. A prominent tool for such studies with a highly non-invasive character is single molecule microscopy. Optical spectroscopy/microscopy at the ultimate limit of a single molecule has grown over the past decades into an extremely powerful technique for exploring the individual nano-scale behavior of molecules in situ and in real time in complex local environments. Observing a single molecule removes the usual ensemble average, allowing the exploration of hidden heterogeneity in complex condensed phases as well as direct observation of dynamic changes, without synchronization.

The research vision of the Hofkens laboratory can be best described by a quote from ‘Chemistry for the next decade and beyond’, commissioned by the UK Engineering and Physical Research council EPSRC a few year ago: “new (chemical) insight is generated in laboratories where unique instrumentation is being developed”. The Hofkens lab has been an active proponent of this view but has gone way beyond building unique equipment by applying the instrumentation on a wide variety of timely and societal relevant topics. Browsing this website you will find out how the lab is supporting and contributing to this view!



People employed




Measuring Setups



Quick Links


Discover our state of the art scientific equipment used for research. Ranging from complex home-built setups to the most advanced commercially available technologies.

Research Projects

Browse through our rich diversity of research topics and learn about the science taking place at Hofkens Lab.


Find out about where we share(d) our work, outreach announcements or learn about passed and upcoming activities!


Research Projects

Chemical Energy Conversion
Optical Mapping
of DNA
Optical Trapping
Luminescent Materials


Contact us!
Head Office

Celestijnenlaan 200F - bus 2404

Chem & Tech Building 

3001 Heverlee



Please contact Prof. J. Hofkens if you are currently considering a PhD or post-doc position in our field of research.

How to reach us

Please click here for directions to our location and let us optimize your travel.

WEB DEVELOPERS: Coucke, Q., De Ras, M., Vandaele, J.

All rights reserved Hofkens Lab©