Our focus is to understand and mimic selected metal-containing enzymes that catalyze difficult oxidation reactions such as the hydroxylation of inert C-H bonds. Such reactions participate in many important processes of environmental, pharmaceutical, medicinal or industrial significance.
The XoRG investigates the origin of the outstanding ability of enzymes to perform these reactions efficiently and selectively under mild conditions. We gain information on the enzymatic catalytic cycle by developing simple synthetic models, and then convey this information to the design of novel catalysts for similar oxidation reactions. We also strive to harvest the oxidative power of molecular oxygen as efficiently as enzymes in order to develop oxidation processes that are environmentally benign.
Our research involves standard organic synthesis for ligand preparation and specialized inorganic and organometallic techniques to prepare reactive metal complexes, including the use of inert and dry atmospheres (glove box, Schlenk lines). We are equipped to study very reactive species by low-temperature spectroscopy and electrochemistry.