In 1858 he was hired as full professor at the University of Ghent, then in 1867 was called to Bonn. He studied carbon compounds, especially studied benzene and he suggested benzene ring structure.
Kekulé's most famous work was on the structure of benzene. In 1865 Kekulé published a paper in French suggesting that the structure contained a six-membered ring of carbon atoms with alternating single and double bonds. The next year he published a much longer paper in German on the same subject. The empirical formula for benzene had been long known, but its highly unsaturated structure was challenging to determine. Archibald Scott Couper in 1858 and Joseph Loschmidt in 1861 suggested possible structures that contained multiple double bonds or multiple rings, but the study of aromatic compounds was in its earliest years, and too little evidence was then available to help chemists decide on any particular structure.