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Spectroscopic and Computational Elucidation of Transition Metal Photoredox Mechanisms

Project description

Elucidating the mechanisms of transition metal photoredox reactions

Photoredox catalysis – a branch of catalysis that harnesses light to accelerate a chemical reaction via single-electron transfer events – provides an efficient route to the construction of new bonds. Despite the high number and growing complexity of bond transformations, few spectroscopic and computational studies have been carried out on photoredox mechanisms. The EU-funded PhotoRedOx project plans to conduct high-level spectroscopy studies involving photon energies spanning 10 orders of magnitude and 15 orders of magnitude for observation time of molecular events. Experimental data will guide the design of ligand molecules so that they enhance their reactivity with a targeted bond.


Photoredox catalysis is an emerging and powerful methodological approach for accomplishing bond constructions in organic chemistry and utilizes photosensitizers to convert photon energy into chemical potential to drive photo-induced C–C/C–X couplings and C–H bond activations. Given catalysis can be light-activated, this methodology is considered environmentally friendly and sustainable. To date, the three main modes of action are: 1) single electron transfers (SETs) to initiate radical coupling reactions; 2) SETs to simultaneously generate free radicals and activate transition metal catalysis (i.e. dual photoredox); and 3) energy transfer to or direct excitation of a transition metal catalyst. While the number and complexity of bond transformations is rapidly increasing, there are few spectroscopic or computational studies of photoredox mechanisms, largely due to the complexity and interplay between excited state dynamics and reactive intermediates. The applicant will use a variety of high-level spectroscopies spanning 10 orders of magnitude in photon energy and 15 orders of magnitude in time to observe molecular events from femtoseconds after light absorption to individual steps in the reaction. Experimental data guide ligand design to tune ground and excited state structure, regioselectivity, or alter reactivity for new bond constructions. Together, the methodologies allow to evaluate energetics of reaction coordinates, define mechanisms, estimate redox activity of intermediates, and map excited state potential energy surfaces to define key electronic contributions from frontier molecular orbitals. This work will be communicated at local, national, and international seminars and conferences. Major findings will be disseminated via publication in high-impact scientific journals. Importantly, the applicant’s training at the host institution and the returning phase will be invaluable for accomplishing his goal to obtain a position at a major European University.


Net EU contribution
€ 255 756,24
16610 Praha 6

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Česko Praha Hlavní město Praha
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 255 756,24

Partners (1)