Priority Program "Light-controlled reactivity of metal complexes" paves the way for the development of new molecular high-performance materials
15 December 2021
Generation and photochemical utilization of light are two of the most significant fundamental aspects of technological developments that will shape society, politics, science, and the economy in the future. From these can be derived energy-saving concepts in display technology, in the field of solar energy, and in the efficient, light-powered syntheses of value-added products as well as in innovative approaches to the use of materials in sensor technology, imaging, and phototherapy. "There is no other class of substances that offers a wider range of design options capable of meeting the demands of these diverse applications than molecular metal complexes," explained Professor Katja Heinze of the Department of Chemistry at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU).
Heinze initiated and coordinated the Priority Program "Light-controlled reactivity of metal complexes" (LCRMC), funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), in the first funding period from 2018 to 2021. During that period, the 17 scientific projects involving 35 principal investigators and 36 PhD students contributed with more than 70 publications to the four main areas, i.e., Novel Metal-based Luminophores, Novel Metal-based Photosensitizers, Fundamental Aspects of Energy Transfer, and Multielectron and Multiproton Processes in Metal-based Systems and Photoinduced Bond Activation in Transition Metal Complexes. Professor Katja Heinze will also coordinate the program in the second funding period from 2022 to 2024.
Potential of photoactive metal complexes not yet exploited
"So far, still only a fraction of the scientific and technological potential of photoactive metal complexes has been exploited. The preparation of completely new classes of metal complexes and the investigation of the energy profiles of electronically excited states should enable us to obtain more extensive fundamental insights into this group of substances. This will pave the way for the development of innovative, high-performance molecular materials for a range of applications in medicine, sensor technology, display technology, chemical synthesis, and the conversion of sunlight to power," added Heinze.
In the second funding period, funded by the DFG to the tune of about EUR 6 million, 13 scientific projects comprising 30 principal investigators will tackle the photophysical and photochemical challenges as well as the fundamental questions associated with the development of innovative, high-performance molecular materials. The three projects "Excited State Kinetic Modelling and Properties Tuning of Iron Complexes" and "Near-Infrared Spin-Flip Luminophores with Earth-abundant Metal Ions 2.0", both led by Heinze, and "Multiphoton Processes and Directional Charge-Transfer in Ferrocene-Polyoxometalate Dyads and Triads", headed by Professor Carsten Streb, will be investigated in collaboration with partners from Paderborn, Rostock, Kaiserslautern, Tübingen, and Jena.