Achim Müller

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Achim Müller
Born February 14, 1938 (1938-02-14) (age 78)
Detmold, Germany
Nationality German
Fields Chemistry
Institutions University of Bielefeld
Alma mater University of Göttingen

Achim Müller (born February 14, 1938 in Detmold, Germany) is a German scientist. He is working now with his research group at the Faculty of Chemistry, University of Bielefeld.

Academic career[edit]

Achim Müller studied chemistry and physics at the University of Göttingen and received there his PhD degree (1965) and the Habilitation (1967). In 1971 he became professor at the University of Dortmund, and since 1977 he is professor of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Bielefeld. His research involves the chemistry of transition metals in synthesis, spectroscopy, and theory especially with relation to nanochemistry,[1][2] bioinorganic chemistry including biological nitrogen fixation,[3] molecular magnets,[4][5] molecular physics as well as history and philosophy of science.[6]). He has published besides about 900 original papers in more than 100 different journals related to different fields, more than 40 reviews and is coeditor of 14 books (see External links below). Achim Müller is a member of several national[7] and international academies, Polish Academy of Sciences, The Indian National Science Academy and is recipient of numerous awards (honorary doctor degrees, -professorships and -memberships) and prizes (e.g. Alfred Stock Memorial Prize 2000, Prix Gay-Lussac/Humboldt 2001, Sir Geoffrey Wilkinson Prize 2001, Centenary Lecture of the Royal Society of Chemistry 2008/9, London[8] as well as named lectureships. In 2012 he was awarded with the prestigious "Advanced Grant" by the European Research Council (ERC) (for additional Honors see external links).


Porous nanosized spherical polyoxomolybdate based capsule Mo132: the 20 stepwise closable pores with crown-ether function are filled with guanidinium cations/guests.

His currently most compelling research relates mainly to bottom-up pathways towards tailor-made porous metal oxide nanoclusters (like Mo132) and their use as versatile materials of interdisciplinary character.[9] This includes the following topics (see especially Ref.[1]):

  • processes, also catalytic ones, under confined conditions, especially in capsules with stepwise closable pores and tunable internal functionalities
  • tuning hydrophobicity of nanocontainer interiors to influence, for example, encapsulated water allowing to study aspects of the hydrophobic effect
  • chemical adaptability in nanomaterials
  • multi-supramolecular chemistry on sphere surfaces
  • modelling cation transport through “membranes” and their separation in small spaces
  • studying new solution states for inorganic ions through vesicle (blackberry) formation
  • coordination chemistry at the surface, in the pores and in the cavities of the nanocapsules
  • encapsulation chemistry in general including related reactions in small spaces
  • versatile linking of nanoclusters in different phases, i.e. to films, monolayers, and in the gas phase
  • examples for a supramolecular/chemical Darwinism
  • recognition of hydrophobic species in water in connection with hydrophobic clustering in porous capsules
  • controlled exchange of guests at different internal porous capsule sites with each other and with the outside
  • porous capsules acting as carriers together for a large number of both cations and anions
  • modelling ion channels based on surfactant encapsulated porous metal-oxide capsules with hydrophobic interiors
  • repellency of a nanodrop of water from the internal hydrophobic capsule surface
  • unprecedented molecular magnets

Müller's discovery of the molecular giant spheres (Keplerates) of the type Mo132 (diameter ca. 3 nm) and their derivatives,[10] of the wheel shaped cluster Mo154 (Refs. 1 and [11]) and hedgehog shaped cluster Mo368 (as large as 6 nm) has caused a paradigm shift not only regarding their sizes but especially due to their unique properties as nanomaterials. These single molecules are quite large; this can be shown by taking the length of an oxygen molecule with two atoms (length 0.12 nm) as a unit, then considering Mo368 which is 50 times as large. Müller's related work shows quite a number of applications (see above), for example, how cellular processes like ion-transport can be modeled based on the spherical porous capsules[12][13] and how the latter can be used to remove toxic compounds from water.[14] All the mentioned nanomaterials belong to a class commonly known as polyoxometalates and some special ones to the molybdenum blue family.[15][16] The compounds are studied worldwide by many groups especially related to problems of Materials Science (see Ref. [1]). One aspect is modelling of the Lotus effect.[17]


He likes ancient Greek philosophy, classical music and mountain hiking. He has a love for woodland birds since his early childhood, a pastime which had been cherished by his father.


  1. ^ From linking of metal-oxide building blocks in a dynamic library to giant clusters with unique properties and towards adaptive chemistry; A. Müller, P. Gouzerh, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2012, 41, 7431.
  2. ^ SupramolecularInorganic Chemistry: Small Guests in Small and Large Hosts, A. Müller, H. Reuter, S. Dillinger, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl.,1995, 34, 1071.
  3. ^ a) Iron-only nitrogenase: exceptional catalytic, structural and spectroscopic features, in: Catalysts for Nitrogen Fixation: Nitrogenases, Relevant Chemical Models, and Commercial Processes, K. Schneider, A. Müller (Eds.: B. E. Smith, R. L. Richards, W. E. Newton), Kluwer, Dordrecht (2004), p. 281; b) Towards Biological Supramolecular Chemistry: A Variety of Pocket-Templated, Individual Metal Oxide Cluster Nucleations in the Cavity of a Mo/W-Storage Protein, J. Schemberg, K. Schneider, U. Demmer, E. Warkentin, A. Müller, U. Ermler, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2007, 46, 2408; corrigendum: 2007, 46, 2970.
  4. ^ Structure-related frustrated magnetism of nanosized polyoxometalates: aesthetics and properties in harmony, P. Kögerler, B. Tsukerblat, A. Müller, Dalton Trans., 2010, (Perspective Article) 39, 21.
  5. ^ Quantum oscillations in a molecular magnet, S. Bertaina, S. Gambarelli, T. Mitra, B. Tsukerblat, A. Müller, B. Barbara, Nature, 2008, 453, 203; corrigendum: Nature, 2010, 466, 1006.
  6. ^ For example: a) Die inhärente Potentialität materieller (chemischer) Systeme, A. Müller, Philosophia naturalis, 1998, Bd. 35, Heft 2, 333; b) Naturgesetzlichkeiten – Chemie lediglich ein Bereich zwischen Physik und biologischen Gesetzen ?, A. Müller, Philosophia naturalis, 2000, Bd. 37, Heft 2, 351; c) Chemie und Ästhetik - die Formenvielfalt der Natur als Ausdruck ihrer Kreativität, A. Müller, ZiF (Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Forschung der Universität Bielefeld), Mitteilungen, 1999, 4, 7; d) Science, Society, and Hopes of a Renaissance Utopist, A. Müller, Science & Society, 2000, 1, 23
  7. ^ Nationale Akademie der Wissenschaften Leopoldina
  8. ^
  9. ^ Molecular growth from a Mo176 to a Mo248 cluster, A. Müller, S. Q. N. Shah, H. Bögge, M. Schmidtmann, Nature, 1999, 397, 48
  10. ^ Picking up 30 CO2 Molecules by a Porous Metal Oxide Capsule Based on the Same Number of Receptors, S. Garai, E. T. K. Haupt, H. Bögge, A. Merca, A. Müller, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2012, 51, 10528.
  11. ^ Self-assembly in aqueous solution of wheel-shaped Mo154 oxide clusters into vesicles, T. Liu, E. Diemann, H. Li, A.W.M. Dress, A. Müller, Nature, 426, 2003, 59-62.
  12. ^ Guests on Different Internal Capsule Sites Exchange with Each Other and with the Outside, O. Petina, D. Rehder, E.T.K. Haupt, A. Grego, I.A. Weinstock, A. Merca, H. Bögge, J. Szakacs, A. Müller, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2011, 50, 410-414.
  13. ^ Mimicking Biological Cation-Transport Based on Sphere-Surface Supramolecular Chemistry: Simultaneous Interaction of Porous Capsules with Molecular Plugs and Passing Cations, A. Merca, E.T.K. Haupt, T. Mitra, H. Bögge, D. Rehder, A. Müller, Chem. Eur. J., 2007, 13, 7650.
  14. ^ Hydrophobic Interactions and Clustering in a Porous Capsule: Option to Remove Hydrophobic Materials from Water, C. Schäffer, A. M. Todea, H. Bögge, O. A. Petina, D. Rehder, E.T.K. Haupt, A. Müller, Chem. Eur. J.,2011, 17, 9634
  15. ^ A Nanosized Molybdenum Oxide Wheel with a Unique Electronic-Necklace Structure: STM Study with Submolecular Resolution, D. Zhong, F. L. Sousa, A. Müller, L. Chi, H. Fuchs, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2011, 50, 7018.
  16. ^ Soluble Molybdenum blue-"des Pudels Kern", A. Müller, C. Serain, Acc. Chem. Res., 2000, 33, 2.
  17. ^ Water Repellency in Hydrophobic Nanocapsules - Molecular View on Dewetting, A. Müller, S. Garai, C. Schäffer, A. Merca, H. Bögge, A. J. M. Al-Karawi, T. K. Prasad, Chem. Eur. J. 2014, 20, 6659-6664 (cover picture)


  • From Scheele and Berzelius to Müller: polyoxometalates (POMs) revisited and the "missing link" between the bottom up and top down approaches, P. Gouzerh, M. Che, l’actualité chimique , 2006, June Issue, No. 298, 9.
  • Inorganic Molecular Capsules: From Structure to Function, L. Cronin, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2006, 45, 3576.
  • Bringing inorganic chemistry to life, N. Hall, Chem. Commun., 2003, 803 (Focus Article).
  • Author Profile, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2013, 52, 800.

External links[edit]