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Applied supramolecular and nanoscale chemistry

English title Applied supramolecular and nanoscale chemistry
Applicant Constable Edwin Charles
Number 132498
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Anorganische Chemie Departement Chemie Universität Basel
Institution of higher education University of Basel - BS
Main discipline Inorganic Chemistry
Start/End 01.10.2010 - 30.09.2012
Approved amount 413'609.00
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Keywords (10)

Photovoltaic; Light emitting electrochemical cell; Sustainable; Molecular computing; Water splitting; Complexes; synthesis; solar cells; nanoscale chemistry; devices

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
The related projects concern the synthesis of novel metal complexes for use in devices and systems of various types.The central part of the projects is concerned with molecular synthesis of metal complexes with functionalities optimised for their application. Much of the work relates to transition elements of the second and third rows but a developing theme in the chemistry is the replacement of rare, expensive and non-sustainable metals by more abundant first row species.Dye sensitized solar cells will be developed using copper complexes as the light-absorbing species. Preliminary work has established that these are viable alternatives to state-of-the art ruthenium dyes.Light emitting electrochemical cells are an alternative technology to OLEDs and we are actively developing new metal complexes for use as the light emitting components.Multifunctional metal complexes will be prepared for incorporation into molecular computing and binary logic devices.All of these projects are interlinked and build upon a common skill set
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants



Exploring copper(i)-based dye-sensitized solar cells: a complementary experimental and TD-DFT investigation.
Bozic-Weber Biljana, Chaurin Valerie, Constable Edwin C, Housecroft Catherine E, Meuwly Markus, Neuburger Markus, Rudd Jennifer A, Schönhofer Ewald, Siegfried Liselotte (2012), Exploring copper(i)-based dye-sensitized solar cells: a complementary experimental and TD-DFT investigation., in Dalton transactions (Cambridge, England : 2003), 41(46), 14157-69.
Water-soluble alkylated bis{4 '-(4-pyridyl)-2,2 ':6 ',2 ''-terpyridine}-ruthenium(II) complexes for use as photosensitizers in water oxidation: a complementary experimental and TD-DFT investigation
Constable EC, Devereux M, Dunphy EL, Housecroft CE, Rudd JA, Zampese JA (2011), Water-soluble alkylated bis{4 '-(4-pyridyl)-2,2 ':6 ',2 ''-terpyridine}-ruthenium(II) complexes for use as photosensitizers in water oxidation: a complementary experimental and TD-DFT investigation, in DALTON TRANSACTIONS, 40(20), 5505-5515.


Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
University of Bologna Italy (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
SCS Fall Meeting Poster TDDFT investigations of copper complexes for DSCs 12.09.2012 Zurich, Switzerland Paley Jennifer Amy;
40 International Conference on Coordination Chemistry Poster Ruthenium complexes - logic gates 09.09.2012 Valencia, Spain Smidkova Marketa;
Dalton Summer School 2012:electronic structural methods Poster Ruthenium complexes - logic gates 18.06.2012 Edinburgh, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Smidkova Marketa;


Title Year
Royal Society of Chemistry Sustainable Energy Award 2011

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
144500 Sustainable nanoscale and materials chemistry 01.10.2012 Project funding (Div. I-III)
144500 Sustainable nanoscale and materials chemistry 01.10.2012 Project funding (Div. I-III)
139133 Structure, dynamics and interactions of paramagnetic centers characterised by Electrn Paramagnetic Resonance 01.12.2011 R'EQUIP
122104 Supramolecular and nanoscale chemistry 01.10.2008 Project funding (Div. I-III)


One of the major challenges facing mankind in the next Century is the transition from fossil fuels as the primary energy source to alternative generation methods. In addition there is a demand for more efficient usage of existing energy sources. Materials and nanoscale science have made enormous advances in developing, at least to the proof-of-principle stage, technologies that can address the scientific issues. However, in this first generation of science, the issues of materials sustainability have, correctly, not been the highest priority. This proposal concerns a variety of sub-projects related to the development of (i) energy efficient lighting devices (LECs) based on iridium (ii) sustainable energy efficient lighting devices (LECs) based on copper and zinc (iii) sustainable dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) based on copper (iv) molecular-based computing systems and (v) water splitting chemistry.Light-emitting electrochemical cells (LECs) are simple and cost-effective devices related to OLEDs. State-of-the-art devices use iridium complexes. We will develop new complexes for long-lived LECs using strategies based on variation of ligand structure to tune the emission maxima. The complexes will incorporate the features we have already shown lead to long-lived devices. We will also investigate the use of copper(I) and zinc(II) complexes incorporating bidentate diimines and bidentate soft PP, PS and SS donors. To date, there have only been very few examples of LECs based on first row transition metals. We will further develop a high throughput method of testing luminescent compounds for use in LECs.We recently described the first examples of efficient DSCs using copper(I) complexes as sensitizers. Following this first result we have worked on improving the efficiencies of these devices. We are now further increasing our effort in designing complexes for copper(I)-DSCs to maintain our world-leading position. We have recently prepared DSCs with efficiencies of the order of 7%. We will also develop exchange reactions for the construction of optimized DSCs and DSCs with libraries of complexes, avoiding the need to design "black" dyes.Contemporary information storage and processing devices are based upon silicon technology and electronic input. For some applications, molecular based information storage and processing can have advantages. In this sub-project we continue to investigate systems using electrons and/or photons for input and/or output.Finally, we will extend our joint studies with Craig Hill (Emory) on photocatalytic systems for the oxidation of water to heterogeneous systems and possibly to tandem cells. In particular, we will use functional multilayers prepared from Langmuir Blodgett films of cationic, photoactive luminescent complexes on aqueous sub-layers of polyoxometallate clusters (the water oxidation catalysts).