Jeroen Rombouts
Jeroen RomboutsPhD Student
 5/2011 – present
Room:  WN-KA363
Lab:  WN-KA357
Phone: +31 (0)20 59 87469
E-mail:  j.a.rombouts@vu.nl

The Artificial Leaf

Design and Synthesis of Light Harvesting Organic Molecules

Cover JeroenThis project is carried out in the larger context of the BioSolarCells “Artificial Leaf” program, which aims to develop an “artificial leaf” as a photoelectrochemical device that produces chemical fuels using solar energy.[1] The approach of renewable energy generation using direct solar-to-fuel technologies allows immediate and local production of store-able chemical fuels. This philosophy is opposed to the conventional approach where photovoltaic electricity production and fuel production are decoupled.
Our role in this national, multidisciplinary research effort is to use our knowledge of synthetic organic chemistry and physical organic chemistry to produce light-harvesting molecules based on known and novel chromophoric (“color-bearing”) scaffolds. These molecules are tailored to power catalytic processes within the prospective devices.
As can be seen above, recently our work made it onto the cover of Chem. Eur. J..[2] In this paper, we describe the fusion of a naphthalene diimide dye (a family of well-known versatile light absorbing compounds) to a zinc–bis-salicylimide phenylene moiety (“salphen”, employed in catalytsis and supramolecular chemistry) creates an expanded red-light absorbing chromophore with an embedded metal atom for interaction with substituted pyridines. A column-chromatography-free preparation of this novel scaffold is described and its photophysical properties are analyzed.

[1] http://www.biosolarcells.nl
[2] Rombouts, J. A., Lammertsma, K., Orru, R. V. A. et al. Chem. Eur. J. 2014 (20), 10285–10291.