His working group is considered as the leader in the field of applied fluoroorganic chemistry in Germany: chemistry professor Gerd-Volker Röschenthaler from Jacobs University has had two new research projects approved within a short space of time. Both have an international outlook, both are being funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and both have the element of fluorine as their subject matter. In total, they comprise a financing volume of 510,000 euros over three years.
The joint research project of Röschenthaler and Dr. Petr Beier from the Institute for Organic Chemistry of the Czech Academy in Prague investigates fluorine and sulfur as well as new synthetic ways of making organic sulfur pentafluorides. “If sulfur pentafluorides are attached to an organic compound, they give this group special properties”, explains Röschenthaler. In some cases, they can intensify the effect of pharmaceuticals, improve agrochemicals or strengthen certain material properties. “This project will significantly expand the number of as yet unknown compounds”, of that Röschenthaler is certain.
In contrast, the research project of Prof. Jianlin Han from the Institute of Organic Chemistry at the University of Nanjing in China focuses on fluorine and phosphorus. Specifically, the research looks at the synthesis of bioactive difluoromethyl phosphonate, which could also be used for medications. “This is basic research”, says Röschenthaler who has been a visiting professor at the University of Nanjing, a leading university in China, for two years. Regular discussions between researchers at Jacobs University and the University of Nanjing will form part of the project.
Röschenthaler has been researching the element of fluorine since the beginning of his scientific career. “Fluorine and fluorine compounds are as widespread as they are relevant for our everyday life”, says the scientist. Fluorine compounds can be found in medications, pesticides, coolants, as liquid crystals in displays and in batteries, to name but a few. He holds 35 patents in them.