We watch chemical reactions as they take place. X-ray lasers, synchrotrons and lab sources with short x-ray pulses are our high-speed cameras. We use them to select which atomic site in a molecule we look at and which of the orbitals we follow in real time as the reaction proceeds. We apply this to small molecules, metal complexes and metalloproteins to discover basic principles that drive their transformations and to understand how they work.
We are working on three main topics:
- Coupling of electronic, spin and nuclear coordinates in photo-induced dynamics of molecules
- Photochemical bond activation by metal complexes
- Local chemistry of bond-activating metalloproteins
We want to understand, predict and ultimately control the excited-state dynamics of metal complexes and other molecules by probing the coupling of transient electronic structure and nuclear dynamics. This forms the basis for understanding photocatalytic processes.
We want to explain how metal complexes activate inert bonds. We aim at developing a fundamental understanding and using this fundamental knowledge to learn how to engineer chemical bonds.
We want to understand the chemical interactions of metal atoms and ions in metalloproteins and how these evolve during a reaction. The aim is to learn from nature how to efficiently transform molecules and to use this knowledge to help developing new concepts for catalysis.
The foundation of our research is to find new ways of coupling experiments and theory in x-ray spectroscopy. We develop new experimental methods at large-scale x-ray facilities and at lab-based x-ray sources. We want to make available new observables and we work closely with theory groups in quantum chemistry and molecular dynamics to further extend the information content of x-ray spectroscopy.
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