List of Project Topics 1st Call

Catalytic activation of chemical feedstock

The projects offered are the following:

Name of the hosting group(s) & Group Leader(s):
Prof. Paolo Melchiorre

Project Title:
Photochemical Enzymatic Catalysis

Reference:
ICIQ-CAT-1901

Description:
The research project will focus on the convergence of photochemistry and enzyme catalysis, whereby the benefits of each are harnessed to uncover previously unknown chemical transformations with high selectivity. Specifically, we plan to access non-natural enzymatic modes of reactivity through photoexcitation of reaction intermediates transiently generated in proteins. This approach will allow enzymes to catalyse completely different processes than those for which they evolved for. This strategy will provide access to enantioselective radical pathways that are currently unmatched by small molecule organic catalysts.

Name of the hosting group(s) & Group Leader(s):
Prof. Paolo Melchiorre

Project Title:
Synergies between Photochemistry and Metal-mediated Catalysis

Reference:
ICIQ-CAT-1902

Description:

Photochemistry offers fascinating and unconventional ways for making molecules that are often complementary to traditional methods proceeding via thermal pathways. This is because the use of light excitation to bring a molecule to an electronically excited state can unlock unique reaction manifolds that are unavailable to conventional ground-state pathways. The combination of the excited-state reactivity with transition metal cross-coupling catalysis will be used to develop new carbon-carbon bond forming processes.

The proposed research seeks to successfully merge these two catalytic platforms in order to capitalize on the strengths of each individual mode of catalysis. The aim is to provide access to currently inaccessible reaction pathways by activating common organic compounds generally recalcitrant to cross-coupling processes.

 

Name of the hosting group(s) & Group Leader(s):
Prof. Kilian Muñiz

Project Title:
Carbohydrate analogues from photochemical catalytic functionalization

Reference:
ICIQ-CAT-1903

Description:
The project aims to employ light-driven synthetic catalysis to enable the conversion of simple hydrocarbon feedstock into higher-functionalised oxygenated and aminated building blocks for carbohydrate chemistry. The project will comprise the initial build-up of carbon-oxygen bonds within the vicinal functionalization of double bonds using catalytic stereoselective transformations. It will follow-up with catalytic C-H oxygenation and amination reactions to access carbohydrate scaffolds within a linear and predictable overall reaction sequence. This domino oxidation strategy will enable the conversion of low-functionalised hydrocarbon feedstock into densely decorated building blocks for the synthesis of carbohydrate derivatives and surrogates.

Main synthetic tools will derive from halogen-based homogeneous photocatalysis. This technique may employ additional use of photocatalysts as initiators or promoters for the anticipated radical reactions. Stereochemical control will be exercised using either chiral halogen and pseudo-halogen catalysts for intermolecular reactions or suitable guiding by functional groups for intramolecular reactivity.

Name of the hosting group(s) & Group Leader(s):
Dr. Marcos García Suero

Project Title:

New catalytic C—C bond activations for chemical synthesis

Reference:
ICIQ-CAT-1904

Description:

The discovery and development of general platforms for the modification of C—C bonds is of high interest across chemical and biological sciences. New fundamental approaches to tackle the well-known problems related with the catalytic and selective C—C bond activation are needed. The general strategies of the future should allow synthetic chemists to look at a molecule and consider simply which C—C bond(s) should be broken to facilitate the direct synthesis of a molecule.

This project is open to innovative solutions to catalytic activation modes of C—C bonds in feedstock chemicals. Those methodologies will solve important problems in the synthesis of complex molecules. Moreover, we will apply the methods developed for the late-stage C—C bond cleavage in complex architectures, such as medically relevant agents or natural products.

Renewable energies from sunlight

The projects offered are the following:

Name of the hosting group(s) & Group Leader(s):
Prof. Antonio M. EchavarrenProf. Emilio Palomares

Project Title:
Synthesis of linear polyaromatic compounds for singlet fission

Reference:
ICIQ-EN-1901

Description:
New materials will be developed for their application in solar cells based in singlet fission, a photophysical process in which a single absorbed photon is converted into two distinct triplet excitons. These materials will be based on linear acenes and other polyarenes with a dibenzopentalene core synthesized in a modular manner by the metal-catalyzed alkynylation of arenes and annulation of enynes or diynes.

Name of the hosting group(s) & Group Leader(s):
Dr. Elisabet Romero

Project Title:
Design of Bio-Inspired Systems for Solar Energy Conversion to Fuel

Reference:
ICIQ-EN-1902

Description:

The motivation for this Project is the need to face the global challenge of achieving a renewable energy supply towards a sustainable future.

The candidate will develop a new generation of solar-energy conversion systems based on the design principles of Photosynthesis, the most advanced one being the utilization of coherence (Romero, Nature, 2017).

The work will consist on the design, construction, and investigation of chromophore-protein assemblies capable to perform efficient and ultrafast energy and electron transfer processes.

The static and dynamic properties of these assemblies will be studied by several methods, with a strong focus on spectroscopic techniques [time-resolved: Two-Dimensional Electronic Spectroscopy (2DES), Transient Absorption, Time-correlated Single Photon Counting (TCSPC); steady-state: Absorption, Fluorescence, Linear and Circular Dichroism, Stark, Raman, FTIR, Fluorescence Line-Narrowing].

The optimized systems will be integrated into solar cells to generate electricity and, later coupled to catalysts (developed by collaborators) to achieve cost-effective solar-energy conversion to fuel.

 

Name of the hosting group(s) & Group Leader(s):
Dr. Elisabet Romero

Project Title:
The Role of Coherence in Enhancing the Efficiency of Photosynthesis

Reference:
ICIQ-EN-1903

Description:

Photosynthesis is the biological process whereby the sun´s energy is collected and stored by a series of events that convert this energy into the biochemical energy needed to power life. During the last decade, growing evidence points to the key role of coherence in determining the high efficiency of light harvesting and charge separation in Photosynthesis owing to the fact that coherence provides directionality, speed and efficiency to energy and electron transfer processes.

Within this Project, the Postdoctoral researcher will address the question: “Is Photosynthesis utilizing coherence to achieve its amazing efficiency?” by investigating light harvesting and charge separation processes in a series of natural and genetically-modified photosynthetic complexes.

The static and dynamic properties of these complexes will be studied by spectroscopic techniques [time-resolved: Two-Dimensional Electronic Spectroscopy (2DES), Transient Absorption, Time-correlated Single Photon Counting (TCSPC); steady-state: Absorption, Fluorescence, Linear and Circular Dichroism, Stark, Raman, FTIR, Fluorescence Line-Narrowing].