Light emitted by the sun is the most powerful energy source in our solar system and as thus provides a unique chance to render energy demanding processes sustainable if sun power could be harvested and transformed efficiently. Sun light can either be converted into chemicals or electricity but for both processes a fundamental knowledge about the interaction of matter and light is required. On the molecular level plant based systems show impressively how light can be transformed into core chemicals via photosynthesis. Many contemporary research projects aim to mimic photosynthesis towards the light-supported synthesis of other chemicals, the production of small molecules such as Hydrogen, or the reduction of Carbon dioxide. A crucial aspect in these endevours is the coordination of different molecular species on a temporal and spatial level to optimize these processes.
Our research centers around such organizational aspects by structuring self-assembled molecules and materials that combine different functionalities in a single entity. As such we combined sensitizes, co-catalysts and dynamic molecular machines into defined structural arrangements on the molecular or solid-state level. In addition we aim to render these assemblies active and adaptive towards light stimulation or chemical conversions similar to the function of biological systems.
W. Danowski, F. Castiglioni, A. Sardjan, S. Krause, L. Pfeifer, D. Roke, A. Comotti, W. R. Browne, B. L. Feringa, Visible Light Driven Rotation of Molecular Motors in a Dual-Function Metal Organic Framework Enabled by Energy Transfer. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020, 142 (19), 9048–9056.