Enzymes are nature's catalysts, which carry out chemical conversions in a highly-efficient and selective manner. For a long time, chemists have attempted to find artificial counterparts with similar characteristics. The Priority Programme "Organocatalysis" is based on the con-cept that small organic molecules could take over the task of enzymes. These organocatalysts are so attractive because, contrary to the metal catalysts previously used most often, they are not poisonous and are robust, inexpensive and relatively easy to manufacture. In this Priority Programme, the researchers will develop new organocatalyst processes, elucidate how they function and apply them to different syntheses that are also industrially relevant.
(Coordinator: Professor Dr. Benjamin List, Max Planck Institute for Coal Research, Mlheim)
Atoms and electrons behave like bricks and mortar. It is the electrons which enable a bonded compound. In addition, the distribution of electrons among the atoms determines all of the chemical characteristics of a material. The new Priority Programme "Experimental Electron Density as the Key to Understanding Chemical Interaction" deals with determining the distribution of electron density in different chemical compounds. In particular, the new re-search reactor in Garching supplies the necessary industrial conditions to expand into new fields of precision. For example, exact knowledge of electron density would enable the spe-cific design of new materials with predetermined characteristics, or make it possible to under-stand organisation
Contact: Dr. Cornelia Pretzer