Nature shows in every living system the power of catalysis. The high effectiveness and selectivity in Natures chemistry is without comparison. One trick Nature uses is the effect of multidentate binding, meaning that the substrates are hold in place by multiple interactions.
We learned from Nature by designing bidentate Lewis acids as new catalysts for Organic Synthesis. We illustrated the principle by developing the first catalyzed inverse electron-demand Diels-Alder (IEDDA) reaction of 1,2-diazines by a bidentate Lewis acid.
Currently, we extend this general concept to other organic reactions as well as developing novel transformations.
Controlling structure on the molecular levels enables also controlling function in the macroscopic world. Especially interesting are geometries which can be reversibly altered between two, or even more states.
In this respect we synthesize and investigate molecular entities with multiples switching units, which are arranged in a cycle. Such an assembly induces changes from 2D to 3D. Additionally, the connectivity allows to control the switching process and to probe mechanistic insights, which are difficult with their linear counterpart.
We developed efficient syntheses for various azobenzene macrocycles, presenting a ternary chiroptical switch, a switchable gel material or a molecular logic gate.