Photocatalytic activation of C-H bonds in aromatic rings was found, for example, in the selective oxidation of toluene to benzaldehyde using TiO2 as catalyst. Due to the adsorption of the aromatic compound also a red-shift of the absorption is observed.
The group of Prof. Wark uses structure-directed sol-gel synthesis routes in order to develop TiO2 thin films with high ordered mesoporosity. Such films possess high surface areas, can be easily doped and adsorb high amounts of organic molecules.
The announced PhD project aims in the use of this high degree of adsorption to initiate complex formation and self-sensitization of the (doped) TiO2 and other oxide films.
By this, syntheses like a C-C bond formation between furanes and aryl diazonium salts, the sulfonation or hydroaminoalkylation of alkane or the arylation of heteroaromatics shall be photocatalytically enhanced.
The interactions of the substrates, the intermediates and the products with the mesoporous photocatalyst films shall be followed to elucidate reaction mechanisms.
The candidate shall have a well-founded knowledge in (photo)catalysis, spectroscopy of solid-state materials, e.g. DRS-UV/Vis, MAS-NMR, XPS, as well as organic chemistry. Experiences in gas sorption, X-ray diffraction and TEM are highly welcome