Benjamin Dietzek investigates light-driven reactions at functional interfaces and in multi-step electron transfer cascades. "Our goal is to observe and understand photo-driven processes in molecules and materials – especially in terms of how we can use them to generate energy from sunlight," he describes. At Leibniz IPHT, Benjamin Dietzek, who was appointed Professor of Physical Chemistry at Friedrich Schiller University Jena in 2011, heads the Research Department Functional Interfaces. He is also deputy speaker of the Transregional Collaborative Research Center CataLight, where teams of scientists from the Universities of Jena and Ulm are investigating sustainable energy converters modelled on nature. Benjamin Dietzek's team succeeded in figuring out for the first time how a function-determining intermediate reacts in a catalysis cycle. By combining electrochemical methods with time-resolved spectroscopic approaches, the researchers were able to characterise the reactivity of the intermediate after light absorption.
"I am looking forward to establishing new networks in the Royal Society of Chemistry in order to apply such novel spectroscopic approaches," the new fellow says. "In this way, we can jointly contribute to sustainable chemistry and advance the energy transition."