RESEARCH AREA II
SOLVENT CONTROL OF CHEMICAL DYNAMICS AND REACTIVITY
Solutes imprint their shape (molecular structure, charge distribution) on the surrounding solvent shells, thus creating solvent arrangements that both in structure and dynamics deviate from the bulk. This so-called ‘solvent shaping’ in the vicinity of reaction centers, whether an enzyme or a catalytic encounter complex, has emerged as an underlying theme to enable the optimization of both yield and selectivity.
Most elementary chemical reaction steps occur on time scales from femto- to nanoseconds, and since solvent reorganization also occurs on such time scales, reaction dynamics are intimately intermingled with solvent dynamics. RESOLV faces the challenges that arise from the dynamical aspects of solvation (focus on the solute) and ‘solvent shaping’ (focus on the solvent) and will proceed to address key issues using time-resolved techniques. Our ambitious goal is to tackle complex reacting systems in solution at the molecular level.
In this area, RESOLV will lay the foundation for developing innovative synthesis strategies for green chemistry. Expertise from Catalysis and Sustainable Reaction Engineering will be harnessed to address key challenges in renewable energy sources.