Catalysis and Self-Assembly (CATSA)

Thor Balkhed

Combining self-assembly and heterogeneous catalysis to make sustainable chemicals and materials.

Principal Investigator: Alexander Holm
To halt climate change, society must stop the use of fossil carbon in fuels, chemicals, and materials. Sustainable food production must also be developed. Catalysis is at the center of these changes! In the Catalysis and Self-Assembly Group, we are excited about heterogeneous catalysis and nanomaterials self-assembly. We combine these fields to enable more efficient synthesis of sustainable food, chemicals, and materials. 


Research Infrastructure

Our goal is to never limit ideas by available research infrastructure. The Catalysis and Self-Assembly group is located in the chemistry lab at the Laboratory of Organic Electronics. Here we are currently building a state-of-the-art lab for catalysis, nanomaterials synthesis, and self-assembly. 

Examples of infrastructure that is being built include reaction lines for heterogeneous catalysis, and various characterization tools for functional materials.

The lab is also fully equipped for materials synthesis. In addition, we have access to great research infrastructure through shared facilities at LOE, and through national research facilities:

LOE Research Infrastructure 
Electron Microscopy Center (Stockholm University)
myfab (network of micro- and nano-fabrication infrastructure)
Treesearch (infrastructure available within Wallenberg Wood Science Center)
Chalmers Materials Analysis Laboratory (wide range of advanced materials characterization)



Sara Boscolo Bibi, Ahmed M. El-Zohry, Bernadette Davies, Vladimir Grigorev, Christopher M. Goodwin, Patrick Lömker, Alexander Holm, Harri Ali-Löytty, Fernando Garcia-Martinez, Christoph Schlueter, Markus Soldemo, Sergey Koroidov, Tony Hansson (2024) Multi-spectroscopic study of electrochemically-formed oxide-derived gold electrodes Physical Chemistry, Chemical Physics - PCCP, Vol. 26, p. 2332-2340 Continue to DOI
Alexander Holm, Bernadette Davies, Sara Boscolo Bibi, Felix Moncada, Joakim Halldin-Stenlid, Laurynas Paškevičius, Vincent Claman, Adam Slabon, Cheuk-Wai Tai, Egon Campos dos-Santos, Sergey Koroidov (2024) A Water-Promoted Mars−van Krevelen Reaction Dominates Low-Temperature CO Oxidation over Au-Fe2O3 but Not over Au-TiO2 ACS Catalysis, Vol. 14, p. 3191-3197 Continue to DOI


Kun‐Che Kao, An‐Chih Yang, Weixin Huang, Chengshuang Zhou, Emmett D. Goodman, Alexander Holm, Curtis W. Frank, Matteo Cargnello (2021) A General Approach for Monolayer Adsorption of High Weight Loadings of Uniform Nanocrystals on Oxide Supports Angewandte Chemie, Vol. 133, p. 8050-8058 Continue to DOI


Karishma K. Adatia, Alexander Holm, Alexander Southan, Curtis W. Frank, Günter E. M. Tovar (2020) Structure-property relations of amphiphilic poly(furfuryl glycidyl ether)-block-poly(ethylene glycol) macromonomers at the air-water interface Polymer Chemistry, Vol. 11, p. 5659-5668 Continue to DOI
Alexander Holm, Emmett D. Goodman, Joakim Halldin Stenlid, Aisulu Aitbekova, Rosadriana Zelaya, Benjamin T. Diroll, Aaron C. Johnston-Peck, Kun-Che Kao, Curtis W. Frank, Lars G. M. Pettersson, Matteo Cargnello (2020) Nanoscale Spatial Distribution of Supported Nanoparticles Controls Activity and Stability in Powder Catalysts for CO Oxidation and Photocatalytic H2 Evolution Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol. 142, p. 14481-14494 Continue to DOI



Collaboration is essential to our research! We collaborate extensively within the Laboratory of Organic Electronics. We also collaborate extensively with groups from other institutions. Wish to collaborate? Contact Alexander Holm directly:

Current external collaboration

The Wallenberg Wood Science Center

The Wallenberg Wood Science Center (WWSC) is a research center between three major universities in Sweden (KTH, Chalmers, and Linköping University). The vision of WWSC is that the forest can offer bio-based alternatives to fossil-based materials. In Sweden, WWSC is the largest initiative in the field, engaging circa 50 PhDs and 20 postdocs. Many members in our group become members of WWSC, providing them with a large research and professional network that they can use in their future careers. For more information, visit WWSC.


Matteo Cargnello 

Portrait of Matteo Cargnello
Matteo Cargnello is an associate professor (chemical engineering) at Stanford University. Together with Matteo, we work on projects related to photocatalysis.

Professor Cargnello's research profile at Stanford University

Information about the Cargnello group

Cheuk-Wai Tai

Portrait of Cheuk-Wai Tai
Cheuk-Wai Tai is a group leader and electron microscopy expert at Stockholm University. With Cheuk-Wai, we develop automated electron tomography methods to characterize heterogeneous catalysts in new ways.


Dr Tai's research profile at Stockholm University

Information about the Tai group

Lennart Bergström 

Portrait of Lennart Bergström
Lennart Bergström is a professor (materials chemistry) at Stockholm University. We collaborate on projects related to the structure and thermal conductivity of foams based on nanocellulose.

Professor Bergström's research profile at Stockholm University

Information about the Bergström group

Marc Hellmuth 

Portrait of Marc Hellmuth
Marc Hellmuth is an associate professor (mathematics) at Stockholm University. With Marc, we develop computational geometry to extract information about heterogeneous catalysts from electron tomograms. 

Professor Hellmuth's research profile at Stockholm University 

Join us!

Open Positions

We currently have two PhD positions open. Check them out here:
PhD position in heterogeneous catalysis
PhD position in nanomaterials self-assembly

Postdoctoral scholars

We always look for talented postdocs. If you are passionate about heterogeneous catalysis, self-assembly, advanced electron microscopy, or related fields, please email Alexander Holm at Please include your CV, and a short description of your scientific interests. Your interests do not have to completely match what we already do in the group! With strong candidates, we are happy to write joint proposals for postdoctoral programs such as the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions.

PhD students

We hire PhD students through open calls, placed at the Linköping University job-pages

MSc students and undergraduate students

If you want to find a lab for your MSc thesis, or for your ERASMUS project work, we want to hear about your interests! We frequently offer suitable projects for undergraduates. Please email Alexander Holm at Please include a copy of your CV, and a short description of your scientific interests.