Project Area C

Research area C provides a unique set of experimental and theoretical analysis tools to examine the physical and chemical behavior of molecular components in solution and after integration into soft matter matrices. Project Area C combines leading expertise in experimental and theoretical materials analysis to provide fundamental understanding of the processes which govern light-driven catalytic reactivity and stability in soft matter matrices. The following experimental and theoretical methods will be employed:

  • High-resolution transmission electron microscopy

  • Spectro-electrochemistry

  • Scanning electrochemical probe microscopy

  • Atomic force microscopy

  • Scanning tunneling microscopy

  • Tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy

  • Time-resolved absorption and emission spectroscopy

  • Operando spectroscopy 

  • Theoretical multi-scale modelling

Project C1

Volker Deckert, Benjamin Dietzek

Spatially and Temporally Resolved Spectroelectrochemistry


C1 develops spatially and ultrafast time-resolved spectro-electrochemistry to study soft matter integrated molecular catalysts. To this end, the project combines electrochemical methods high spatial resolution using AFM and high temporal resolution using ultrafast pump-probe transient absorption spectroscopy.

Project C2

Jürgen Popp, Boris Mizaikoff

Multi-spectroscopic Correlation Analysis of Electronic and Structural Changes During Homogenous and Heterogeneous Catalytic Activity


C2 develops advanced in situ multimodal spectroscopy combined with 2D correlation analysis for elucidating photophysical mechanisms regarding the formation of catalytically active species, intermediates, degradation products and degradation pathways in solution and in soft matter matrices. A high-throughput catalyst characterization system will enable in situ continuous monitoring of the catalyst activity via waveguide-based molecular spectroscopies in a miniaturized sensing format.

Project C3

Leticia González

Watching a Catalyst Function: Theoretical Insights into Water Oxidation on Mn-V Clusters Embedded in Soft Matter Matrices


C3 performs theoretical modeling and design of catalyst-photosensitizer assemblies embedded in functionalized polymer matrices able to promote efficient photoinduced water oxidation. This mechanistic insight will be gained by means of stationary and dynamic computational methods, partially performed on highly efficient graphics-processor-units.

Project C4

Ute Kaiser, Christine Kranz

Structural, Morphological and Functional Characterization of 2D Catalyst Interfaces


C4 uses advanced microscopy techniques to investigate structural changes of molecular catalysts in soft matter down to atomic resolution. High resolution TEM will provide insights into degradation and stability, while (electrochemical) scanning probe microscopy will determine catalyst/photosensitizer function and distribution.

Project C5

Stefanie Gräfe, Axel Groß

Structures and Processes in the Photocatalytic Hydrogen Evolution by Immobilized Metal Complexes Studied from First Principles


C5 will use theoretical methods to gain fundamental understanding of light-driven molecular catalysis in soft matter membranes. Specific aims are: to rationalize structural and photophysical featues of each species, to determine the influence of anchoring and immobilization in soft matter, and to elucidate mechanistic changes by comparing reactivity in solution and upon immobilization.

Project C6

Dirk Ziegenbalg

Characterization and Control of Photocatalytic Processes within Soft Matter Matrices


C6 develops reaction engineering concepts to quantitively compare the catalytic activity of homogeneous and heterogeneous light-driven catalysts. This will put CATALIGHT in a globally unique position where quantitative, comparable data on the light-driven catalytic performance of widely used catalytic systems will become available, so that future development directions can be objectively evaluated based on standardized performance evaluation. This will allow us to investigate transport effects and establish innovative approaches towards highly intensified processes