Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Put into the right light - Reproducible and sustainable coupling reactions


Chemists at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam are developing improved methods for coupling reactions with light by targeted control of the catalyst activity.

A team of researchers reports in the journal Nature Catalysis that sustainable carbon-nitrogen cross-couplings can be performed using simple nickel salts, carbon nitrides and light.

Photochemical carbon-nitrogen cross-couplings can be dramatically improved by the choice of the light source

©Bartholomäus Pieber

The chemists study the use of cost-effective and reproducible semiconductors as photocatalysts in coupling reactions.

Carbon-nitrogen cross-couplings are among the most important chemical reactions for the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients, crop protection agents and organic materials. In these reactions, two molecular building blocks are selectively linked together with the aid of a catalyst.

Palladium compounds, which are considered excellent catalysts, are normally used for this purpose. However, due to the low abundance of this precious metal, these are expensive and not sustainable. Nickel is intensively studied as an alternative. However, this usually requires complex nickel complexes, strong bases or high temperatures.

Activation of simple nickel compounds by light and photocatalysts

These disadvantages can be avoided by activating simple nickel compounds with light and a photocatalyst. Suitable photocatalysts usually consist of rare and expensive precious metals such as iridium and ruthenium.

In addition, the range of applications of these methods is limited and incomplete reactions as well as irreproducible results are observed.

Precious metal-free methods for reproducible carbon-nitrogen cross-coupling

In the course of their efforts to replace iridium and ruthenium photocatalysts with carbon nitrides, the chemists led by Bartholomäus Pieber discovered that the limitations and poor reproducibility are due to the destruction of the nickel catalyst, which can also lead to the deactivation of the photocatalyst.

A careful analysis of these reactions enabled the scientists to prevent the destruction of the catalysts by selecting suitable light sources, changing the concentration or adding stabilizing additives. This has considerably expanded the range of applications for this reaction.

Bartholomäus Pieber, leading scientist of the research group "Catalysis", emphasizes:

"The developed, precious metal-free coupling protocols open the way to cost-effective, sustainable and above all reproducible carbon-nitrogen cross-couplings, which can also be carried out with sunlight as an energy source. We will next test our methodology for the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients".

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Dr. Bartholomäus Pieber


Gisbertz, S., Reischauer, S. & Pieber, B.: Overcoming limitations in dual photoredox/nickel-catalysed C–N cross-couplings due to catalyst deactivation. Nat Catal (2020).

Katja Schulze | Max-Planck-Institut für Kolloid- und Grenzflächenforschung

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Study clarifies kinship of important plant group
05.08.2020 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Human cell-based test systems for toxicity studies: Ready-to-use Toxicity Assay (hiPSC)
05.08.2020 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Biomedizinische Technik IBMT

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New Strategy Against Osteoporosis

An international research team has found a new approach that may be able to reduce bone loss in osteoporosis and maintain bone health.

Osteoporosis is the most common age-related bone disease which affects hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide. It is estimated that one in three women...

Im Focus: AI & single-cell genomics

New software predicts cell fate

Traditional single-cell sequencing methods help to reveal insights about cellular differences and functions - but they do this with static snapshots only...

Im Focus: TU Graz Researchers synthesize nanoparticles tailored for special applications

“Core-shell” clusters pave the way for new efficient nanomaterials that make catalysts, magnetic and laser sensors or measuring devices for detecting electromagnetic radiation more efficient.

Whether in innovative high-tech materials, more powerful computer chips, pharmaceuticals or in the field of renewable energies, nanoparticles – smallest...

Im Focus: Tailored light inspired by nature

An international research team with Prof. Cornelia Denz from the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Münster develop for the first time light fields using caustics that do not change during propagation. With the new method, the physicists cleverly exploit light structures that can be seen in rainbows or when light is transmitted through drinking glasses.

Modern applications as high resolution microsopy or micro- or nanoscale material processing require customized laser beams that do not change during...

Im Focus: NYUAD astrophysicist investigates the possibility of life below the surface of Mars

  • A rover expected to explore below the surface of Mars in 2022 has the potential to provide more insights
  • The findings published in Scientific Reports, Springer Nature suggests the presence of traces of water on Mars, raising the question of the possibility of a life-supporting environment

Although no life has been detected on the Martian surface, a new study from astrophysicist and research scientist at the Center for Space Science at NYU Abu...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

“Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2020”: The final touches for surfaces

23.07.2020 | Event News

Conference radar for cybersecurity

21.07.2020 | Event News

Contact Tracing Apps against COVID-19: German National Academy Leopoldina hosts international virtual panel discussion

07.07.2020 | Event News

Latest News

Manifestation of quantum distance in flat band materials

05.08.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

Discovery shows promise for treating Huntington's Disease

05.08.2020 | Health and Medicine

Rock debris protects glaciers from climate change more than previously known

05.08.2020 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>