Functional Inorganic Materials: Synthesis, Characterization, and Catalysis

Group leader
Functional Inorganic Materials: Synthesis, Characterization, and Catalysis
Specific themes and goals
  • Metal-oxo clusters: Prof. Ulrich Kortz’s group is active in the synthesis, structural characterisation and study of the physicochemical properties of discrete metal-oxo clusters. The group has experience in the design and screening of reactions aimed at the discovery of novel compounds, including upscaling for commercial applications. We use a large range of analytical instrumentation including nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and single-crystal x-ray diffraction (XRD), as well as catalytic reactors (batch and flow) to perform industrially-relevant catalyst screening.
  • Polyoxopalladates: In 2008, the Kortz group discovered a novel class of anionic metal-oxo clusters comprising exclusively the noble metal palladium. Polyoxopalladates (POPs) are discrete, molecular palladium-oxo nanoclusters. Palladium and platinum are of much interest for industrial catalysis and we are exploring the use of POPs as (pre)-catalysts for industrially-relevant hydrogenation reactions and other petrochemical transformations. The group has been working in this area with a large chemical company, and has contributed to more than 10 patents.
  • Noble-metal-free POMs: The Kortz group has also been active in the synthesis of noble-metal-free POMs in a number of industrially-relevant applications. Areas include renewable energy and battery research. We are also active in researching POMS as active components of self-cleaning surfaces.
Highlights and impact

Ulrich Kortz is a global leader in the area of POM chemistry, ranging from synthesis and structural characterization of metal-oxo clusters to the study of properties and applications of these materials in various sectors, which is supported by a large network of academic and industrial collaborators. With a portfolio of 319 publications, 14791 citations, and H-index 67 the work of the Kortz group has significant impact on the global development of the research field.

  • Between 2019 and 2022, the Kortz group has published 49 articles in international, peer-reviewed journals.
  • In 2021 and 2020, respectively, the Kortz group published reviews in Comprehensive Coordination Chemistry III (Quo vadis, Polyoxometalate Chemistry?) and Current Medicinal Chemistry (Polyoxometalates in Biomedicine: Update and Overview).
  • The Kortz group has a large and constantly expanding international network of collaborators. 
  • The prominent standing of the Kortz group in the POM community keeps attracting young scientists from all over the world to join the research group.
  • The Kortz group engages Constructor University undergraduates in research, from as early as their first year of study. To date, this approach has resulted in 36 publications with Constructor University undergrads as coauthors.
Group composition & projects/funding

Currently the Kortz group comprises seven PhD students and two postdoctoral researchers. The group received financial support from different third-party projects (from, for example, the chemical industry), the German Science Foundation (DFG, KO-2288/29-1, KO-2288/31-1), and international funding agencies (DAAD, CSC etc.).

Selected publications
  • Bhattacharya, S.; Barba-Bon, A.; Zewdie, T. A.; Müller, A. B.; Nisar, T.; Chmielnicka, A.; Rutkowska, I. A.; Schürmann, C. J.; Wagner, V.; Kuhnert, N.; Kulesza, P. J.; Nau, W. M.; Kortz, U. Discrete, Cationic Palladium(II)-Oxo Clusters via f-Metal Ion Incorporation and their Macrocyclic HostGuest Interactions with Sulfonatocalixarenes. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2022, 61, e202203114.
  • Bhattacharya, S.; Basu, U.; Haouas, M.; Su, P.; Espenship, M. F.; Wang, F.; SoléDaura, A.; Taffa, D. H.; Wark, M.; Poblet, J. M.; Laskin, J.; Cadot, E.; Kortz, U. Discovery and Supramolecular Interactions of Neutral Palladium-Oxo Clusters Pd16 and Pd24. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2021, 60, 3632 3639.
  • Gil-Moles, M.; Türck, S.; Basu, U.; Pettenuzzo, A.; Bhattacharya, S.; Rajan, A.; Ma, X.; Büssing, R.; Wölker, J.; Burmeister, H.; Hoffmeister, H.; Schneeberg, P.; Prause, A.; Lippmann, P.; Kusi-Nimarko, J.; Hassell-Hart, S.; McGown, A.; Guest, D.; Lin, Y.; Notaro, A.; Vinck, R.; Karges, J.; Cariou, K.; Peng, K.; Qin, X.; Wang, X.; Skiba, J.; Szczupak, L.; Kowalski, K.; Schatzschneider, U.; Hemmert, C.; Gornitzka, H.; 
  • Milaeva, E. R.; Nazarov, A. A.; Gasser, G.; Spencer, J.; Ronconi, L.; Kortz, U.; Cinatl, J.; Bojkova, D.; Ott, I. Metallodrug Profiling against SARS-CoV-2 Target Proteins Identifies Highly Potent Inhibitors of the S/ACE2 Interaction and the Papain-like Protease PLpro. Chem. Eur. J. 2021, 27, 17928 17940. 
  • Ayass, W. W.; Miñambres, J. F.; Yang, P.; Ma, T.; Lin, Z.; Meyer, R.; Jaensch, H.; Bons, A.-J.; Kortz, U. Discrete Polyoxopalladates as Molecular Precursors for Supported Palladium Metal Nanoparticles as Hydrogenation Catalysts Inorg. Chem. 2019, 58, 5576 5582. 
  • Bhattacharya, S.; Ayass, W. W.; Taffa, D. H.; Schneemann, A.; Semrau, A. L.; Wannapaiboon, S.; Altmann, P. J.; Pöthig, A.; Nisar, T.; Balster, T.; Burtch, N. C.; Wagner, V.; Fischer, R. A.; Wark, M.; Kortz, U. Discovery of Polyoxo-Noble-Metalate-Based Metal-Organic Frameworks. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2019, 141, 3385 3389.