RESEARCH

Nature uses solar light as energy source to convert raw materials such as CO2 and water into complex molecules. From a synthetic chemists’ perspective, visible-light can be considered an ideal reagent. In contrast to conventional reagents, light is non-toxic, generates no waste, and can be obtained from renewable sources.

The mission of the PieberLab is to unravel the full potential of visible-light photocatalysis as a powerful and sustainable strategy for synthetic organic chemistry by developing new catalysts and methods. We aim to provide solutions for challenging chemical problems and to realize sustainable, robust photocatalytic transformations. The research in our group is driven by curiosity and the understanding of photophysical properties of photocatalysts as well as reaction mechanisms. A key aspect of our research philosophy is to learn from other areas such as materials sciences.

We are particularly interested in heterogeneous photocatalysis using organic and inorganic semiconductors. These materials are promising sustainable alternatives to common homogeneous photocatalysts given their high stability, straightforward preparation, and ease of catalyst recycling. Another focus is the development of photocatalytic methods in which the choice of wavelength can be used as a parameter to control the outcome of the reaction.

Synthetic Methodology & Catalyst Developement

We develop sustainable catalytic transformations as well as new catalysts, catalytic concepts and strategies for selective functional group interconversions and  and cross-coupling reactions with a strong focus on visible-light photocatalysis. We are particularly interested in heterogeneous photocatalysis for organic synthesis using organic and inorganic semiconductors. These materials are promising sustainable alternatives to common homogeneous photocatalysts given their straightforward recycling strategies (e.g. filtration), high stability, and ease of preparation.

Chromoselective Photocatalysis

Many parameters influence the selectivity of a chemical reaction, such as  varying the catalyst/coordinated ligands, directing groups or by tuning external parameters. Although is known, that the selectivity of photochemical reactions varies with different wavelengths, examples that use this for visible-light photocatalysis are rare. We develop and investigate photocatalytic systems in which the choice of the wavelenght can be used as a parameter to control the outcome of the reaction.

Mechanistic Investigations

We use online reaction monitoring and advanced spectroscopic techniques to get mechanistic insights in heterogeneous and homogeneous photocatalytic organic synthesis. These studies are key to understand and improve the reactions and catalytic systems we develop!

Reaction Technology

Photocatalysis greatly benefits from enabling technologies, such as flow chemistry. We apply this technique to reduce reaction times and provide scalable protocols.