Lecture: Chemical Oscillators & Catalysis

About this event

Lecture Committee
Date and time
Oct 6, 2023 15:00 - 16:00
NB 5111.0080

Dear CB-Members,

we hope you have had a great start into the academic year and are doing well, as we proudly announce the first LeCo-event of the year. We are thrilled to invite you to our upcoming guest lecture on the 6th of October featuring recent RUG graduate Matthijs Ter Harmsel. Join us for a unique chance to dive deep into the world of chemical oscillators and catalysis (more information can be found below).

Event Details:

Date: 6th of October 2023
Time: 15:00 - 16:00
Location: NB 5111.0080

This is a fantastic opportunity to gain valuable insights and connect with fellow CB-members. Make sure not to miss out on this unique opportunity and sign up now, we hope to see you there!

The Lecture Committee


More information:

Composing a molecular symphony:a catalytically active small organic molecule oscillator
Matthijs ter Harmsel

Oscillations are all around us. In nature, oscillating systems control many processes, for example the regular beating of our heart. Oscillations can also be found in chemistry. A complex symphony of chemical reactions can cause the concentrations of different chemicals to increase and decrease, producing pulsating color or acidity changes. In our lab we have developed a new chemical oscillator using small organic molecules. In a special reaction chamber where continuously fresh starting material is added and reaction mixture is taken out, the concentrations of the molecules oscillate regularly. But this chemical oscillator is not just a clock. It can catalyze other chemical reactions, resulting in periodic synthesis of new molecules. When there is a lot of catalyst, near the peak of the oscillation, the catalyzed reaction takes place rapidly, but when the catalyst disappears, the catalyzed reaction stops. Being able to trigger/program reactions with an autonomous oscillator opens up new possibilities in chemical synthesis.

Feedstocks often consist of a mixture of molecules. Doing chemical synthesis with mixtures results in a mess. Doing clean and selective synthesis requires tedious purification steps, efforts and energy. We can use the catalytic oscillator as a molecular filter for a mixture of chemicals and thereby avoid purification. This is possible because the catalytic oscillator will preferably react with the most reactive molecule in the mixture of similar molecules, before it disappears again. One day the catalytic oscillator could be used for periodic synthesis and delivery of medication, making specialized polymer chains, or controlling molecular machines.


Be sure to check out the corresponding article in Nature!: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-023-06310-2


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