Lothar Helm was born in Germany in 1952. He studied physics at the University of Karlsruhe and got his diploma in 1977 in physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry. In 1980 he obtained his Ph.D. with a thesis on the interaction between ions in aqueous solution studied by nuclear magnetic relaxation, carried out under the supervision of Prof. H. G. Hertz.
In 1980 he joined the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Lausanne as post-doc. From 1982 to 1983 he was maître-assistant at the same institute. In 1983 he was appointed permanent researcher.
Besides his research he became responsible technician for the NMR spectrometers of the institute and for the development of high-pressure NMR equipment.
In 1999 he was appointed Privat Docent at the Faculty of Science of the University of Lausanne. Together with the whole chemistry department he moved 2001 to the EPFL. Since 2006 he is titular professor and director of the NMR service of the Institute of Chemical Sciences and Engineering.
Upon his return in 1965 to the Institute of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry at the University of Lausanne, he was asked to create a research and teaching program in Coordination Chemistry. He was appointed Assistant Professor in 1971.
- Study of reactivity and reaction mechanisms in coordination chemistry using nuclear magnetic resonance, high pressure techniques and computer simulations.
- Nuclear and electron spin relaxation of paramagnetic complexes in solution.
- Development and physico-chemical characterization of contrast agents for medical magnetic resonance imaging.