The MIT-Harvard Center for Excitonics Seminar Series

Frank Wuerthner
Institute for Organic Chemistry, University of Würzburg

Research on dye molecules has been continuing to be at the forefront of new developments in chemistry owing to their versatile functional properties associated with p‑conjugation. On a supramolecular level, appropriately controlled spatial arrangement of dyes enables pivotal functions in nature, the most intriguing examples being provided by the light-harvesting systems of purple and green bacteria which contain a large number of chlorophyll and carotene chromophores organized in cyclic arrays or tubular architectures by non-covalent interactions.

During the last few years, we have intensively investigated the organization of merocyanine, chlorin, squaraine, and perylene bisimide dyes by non-covalent forces into desirable nanoscale architectures as well as liquid-crystalline and crystalline solid state materials. In this lecture, I will provide an overview on our achievements in the preparation of defined dye assemblies and their functional properties that originate from proper p‑p-stacking.1 In particular, charge and exciton transport in H- and J‑aggregates,2 pH-sensitive energy transfer processes in dye vesicles,3 and photovoltaic performance of dye-based bulk heterojunction solar cells4 will be discussed.

Frank Würthner received his education in Chemistry at the University of Stuttgart (Germany) where he obtained his doctoral degree in 1993 under the guidance of Prof. Franz Effenberger. After a postdoctoral stay at MIT in Cambridge/MA (USA) with Prof. Julius Rebek, Jr., he worked for two years at BASF Central Research (Ludwigshafen, Germany), followed by the habilitation in organic chemistry at the University of Ulm in 2001. Since 2002 he holds a Chair of Organic Chemistry at the University of Würzburg where he has also served as dean of the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy and as director of the Wilhelm-Conrad Röntgen Research Center for Complex Material Systems. In 2010 he founded the Center for Nanosystems Chemistry which recently became a Bavarian State Key Laboratory for Supramolecular Materials for Solar Energy Conversion. His research interests include dye chemistry, fundamental studies on the self-assembly of molecular nanostructures and the synthesis of supramolecular materials for organic electronics, photovoltaics and artificial photosynthesis.