The integration of molecular light-driven catalysts into functional heterogeneous matrices offers vast opportunities for synergistic control over charge transfer processes, photochemical reaction pathways and degradation resistance. To-date, the knowledge-based design of these materials is challenging as there is a fundamental lack of understanding of the underlying mechanisms which control component interactions, photochemical and –physical properties and overall catalytic activity.
The Transregio-CRC CataLight will address these challenges by developing suitable model systems to gain molecular-level insights into key processes, which govern reactivity and stability. Specifically designed molecular light-driven catalysts (initial focus: water oxidation and water reduction) are developed based on organic or metal complex chromophores linked to metal complex or molecular metal oxide/sulfide catalysts. These components are integrated into stimuli-responsive soft matter matrices based on polymers and block copolymers, nanostructured carbon / carbon nitride, as well as DNA architectures. This will allow the precise tuning of molecule-matrix interactions and enable the development of molecular repair strategies. Hierarchical micro- and nanostructuring of the materials into membranes, colloids, and thin films will give additional control over substrate and product transport and can be used to tune catalytic self-regulation and stimuli-responsiveness. The molecule-matrix systems employed were specifically selected to enable the combined in-depth experimental and theoretical study of interactions on the molecular level and beyond. Thus, CataLight will provide general mechanistic understanding of the interactions of light-driven molecular catalysts with soft matter matrices.