A group from the University of Bristol led by Prof Orr-Ewing have employed the CLF's ULTRA facility to conduct a detailed study of light-activated organic catalysts for polymerization. Catalysts are important to industry for their ability to speed up a reaction without being consumed within it. Most catalysts are metal-based due to metals possessing relatively energetic electrons which can lend a hand in the reaction. However, these catalysts are costly due to mining and purification of the often rare metals. Organic catalysts, whilst requiring synthesis do not require expensive mining and are often more specific in their catalysis, resulting in less waste. Light-activated catalysts offer further benefits through their use of a clean driving source i.e. light.
The group's research, published in Chemical Science follows the dynamics of the catalysis process from the early stages 300 fs to microseconds made possible using ULTRA's LIFEtime laser
Image Credit: L. Lewis-Borrell, M. Sneha, A. Bhattacherjee, I. P. Clark and A. J. Orr-Ewing, Chem. Sci., 2020, 11, 4475DOI: 10.1039/D0SC01194K