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Research Areas

Our topics

We are working in the fields of molecular biophysics and energy research, examining biological and biomimetic processes at the molecular and atomic level. The application of new physical methods and concepts for understanding the structure, dynamics, and functions of biomolecules are particularly important in our work. Biomimetic systems for CO2-neutral production of fuels - driven by renewable energy  - are of increasing importance in our recent work. The focal points of our research are:

  • Use of solar energy by plants and cyanobacteria (photosynthesis research). In the chain of involved processes, we are especially interested in the stage where water is split and molecular oxygen is released.
  • Biological catalysis by metal ions bound to proteins as well as catalysis by synthetic biomimetic catalysts.
  • Artificial photosynthesis and water electrolysis, specifically new catalyst materials for the production of non-fossil fuels (e.g., molecular hydrogen).

Our group is composed of physicists, chemists, and biologists. The work is embedded in national and international cooperations. The methods used in our lab include:

Structural investigations using X-ray spectroscopy (at the BESSY in Berlin, at the ESRF in Grenoble, and elsewhere), optical spectroscopy (UV/vis, fluorescence, FTIR) for monitoring processes after excitation by laser pulses, advanced electrochemistry combined with spectroscopy, computer simulations of reaction kinetics, and molecular modelling.


Utilization of solar energy in oxygenic photosynthesis

The active site of metalloproteins - Spectroscopic investigations on catalytic mechanisms

Biomimetic solar-driven fuel production - Catalysts for energy storage and renewable fuels

Techniques and methodical developments

Protonation Dynamics in Protein Function: SFB 1078

Cluster of Excellence - Unifying Concepts in Catalysis: UniSysCat

Solar H2: SPP 1613