RESEARCH AREA I
LOCAL SOLVENT FLUCTUATIONS IN HETEROGENEOUS SYSTEMS
Currently, key concepts in Solvation Science are firmly established in terms of global properties of homogeneous bulk systems at thermodynamic equilibrium conditions. However, it is intriguing to see how local solvation phenomena in nanoheterogeneous environments determine the reactivity and selectivity in solution as well as the function of electrocatalysts, receptors, and enzymes.
In RESOLV we wish to extend those global concepts into spatially and time-resolved properties and establish new concepts of relevance to Solvation Science. We will tackle this grand theme by introducing local perspectives of (i) solvation thermodynamics including entropy, (ii) site-specific polarity, proticity and pH of solvents, and (iii) de/re-solvation processes in bio-electrochemistry and electrocatalysis down to the local single entity level. Fundamental to this endeavour will be the synergistic combination of experiments that address properties site-specifically at the single molecule level with advanced computational approaches.
This local perspective will have an impact on innovative energy conversion and storage devices, and in the long run in areas such as sensor technology and drug design. A long-term vision of RESOLV is the development and optimization of cost-effective nanoelectrocatalysts, quantitative prediction of biomolecular recognition processes, and the design of novel bio-inspired platforms for solar fuel generation.