Engineering of Advanced Materials

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Cluster of Excellence

Engineering of Advanced Materials

Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg


Cluster of Excellence
Engineering of
Advanced Materials (EAM)

Nägelsbachstrasse 49b
91052 Erlangen, Germany
29. December 2016

Solar energy conversion and storage in a single molecule

Front Cover in CHEMSUSCHEM

Photovoltaics convert solar energy, but do not allow for the direct storage of electrical energy. An elegant option to overcome this challenge is the chemical conversion of light to energy by using pairs of valence isomers. In such systems, the basic material is converted photochemically and reversibly
into its metastable, strained, and energy-rich isomeric counterpart.
The energy stored can then be released in the form of heat by triggering the reverse reaction. The use of a single-molecule system may prevent undesired side-reactions often observed in multi-step reactions and enable for a high number of storage/release cycles. The most prominent example of such a valence isomer pair is norbornadiene (NBD) and its energy-rich counterpart quadricyclane (QC). This system can store ~100 kJ/mol, which is comparable to the energy density provided by state-of-the-art batteries. Therefore, NBD/QC is a most promising candidate for a future energy storage and conversion system. The conventional way to trigger this reaction makes use of mild oxidants. The drawbacks of this approach are undesired side reactions and a lack of control over the energy release rate, once the reaction has been started. A team of EAM researchers (groups of Prof. Bachmann, Prof. Görling, Prof. Hirsch, Prof. Libuda, Dr. Papp and Prof. Steinrück) follows alternative concepts to trigger the energy release reaction. They investigated the use of heterogeneous catalysts and the electrochemically triggered energy release. To this end, they use a wide range of complementary experimental and computational techniques. In a well-defined and ultra-clean environment, they studied the adsorption, exothermic reaction, and degradation mechanisms of the organic molecules on a single crystalline platinum surface. In another complementary approach, the electrochemical properties of NBD and QC are characterized using voltametric and spectroscopic methods. It was shown that it is possible to control the kinetics with an applied potential, which allows for adjusting the thermal power release in real time. In a future step, the research team envisions the direct energy release in the form of electric energy.

Catalytically Triggered Energy Release from Strained Organic Molecules:
The Surface Chemistry of Quadricyclane and Norbornadiene on Pt(111)

Research Areas A3, B, C, D
U. Bauer, S. Mohr, T. Döpper, P. Bachmann, F. Späth, F. Düll, M. Schwarz,
O. Brummel, L. Fromm, U. Pinkert, A. Görling, A. Hirsch, J. Bachmann,
H.-P. Steinrück, J. Libuda, C. Papp
Chem. Eur. J., 2017, 23, 1613 – 1622

Energy Storage in Strained Organic Molecules: (Spectro)Electrochemical
Characterization of Norbornadiene and Quadricyclane

Research Areas A3, B, D
O. Brummel, D. Besold, T. Döpper, Y. Wu, S. Bochmann, F. Lazzari, F. Waidhas,
U. Bauer, P. Bachmann, C. Papp, H.-P. Steinrück, A. Görling, J. Libuda, J. Bachmann
ChemSusChem, 2016, 9, 1424–1432

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