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Light to the laboratory

An in­terdiscipli­nary col­la­bora­tive pro­ject of a spe­cial kind was initi­ated by an alumnus of the Syn­Cat Elite Graduate Pro­gram, Thomas Wagner. To­geth­er with a stu­dent of eco­nom­ics at the Uni­versi­tät Re­gensburg and the re­search group around Prof. Burkhard Kö­nig, the mar­keta­bility of a pho­to reac­tor for uni­versal use in pho­tochemical la­bora­tories was pushed ahead. To­day, the de­vice is available for commer­cial pur­chase.

Efficiency and standardization through modern LED technology

Photo­chemical reac­tions are trig­gered by irra­dia­tion with light of spe­cific wavelengths. Thus, many sub­stances can be pro­duced more effi­cient­ly and the mechanisms of novel reac­tions can be re­vealed. The use of ex­pen­sive and sometimes toxic chemicals in the pro­duc­tion of fine chemicals, such as pharma­ceuti­cals, is sig­nifi­cant­ly re­duced. Therefore, the field of pho­tochemis­try also oc­cupies an im­portant posi­tion with­in ad­vanced syn­thesis and ca­taly­sis in the „Advanced Synthesis and Catalysis“ study pro­gram. With the knowledge ac­quired here, the mar­keting pro­ject was made pos­si­ble.

Thomas Wagner tells about the de­veloped de­vice: "With our pho­to reac­tor we can make the re­sults from the re­search la­bora­tories com­para­ble: the re­searchers can de­ter­mine ex­actly which radi­ation pow­er they use." The eco­nom­ics stu­dent Anna-Katharina Kopp works with Thomas Wagner on the mar­keting. She ex­plains what the de­vice is all about: "The reac­tions are now much faster be­cause our reac­tor works with very high light out­put." This means that some reac­tions can be com­plet­ed with­in just ten minutes, in­stead of two hours.

Great demand in industrial laboratories

Dur­ing the de­velopment of the de­vice, Prof. Dr. Burkhard Kö­nig, a lead­ing sci­entist in the field of pho­to ca­taly­sis, ad­vised the stu­dents. Most of the la­bora­tories in this area work with their own con­struc­tions, which are per­mit­ting com­para­ble re­search re­sults only to a lim­ited ex­tent. Therefore, ac­cord­ing to Prof. Kö­nig, the new­ly de­veloped and now mar­ket-intro­duced de­vice is a big step for­ward: "With the pho­to reac­tor that the stu­dents have launched on the mar­ket, reac­tions are not only faster and more com­para­ble. The de­vice can irra­diate reac­tions so strongly with light that it may be pos­sible to in­ves­tigate reac­tions that are not pos­sible to­day. "

A posi­tive and prof­itable co­oper­ation was achieved by merging with the exist­ing commer­cial en­ter­prise HK test sys­tems. Man­aging Di­rec­tor Wolfgang Kopp ex­plains the suc­cess fac­tor: "For us, it is valu­able if we learn di­rectly from re­searcher what is needed in the la­bora­tory. With this knowledge and our expe­rience in de­velopment and de­sign, we have real­ized a de­vice that meets the high de­mands of re­search."

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Text: Elite Graduate Program "Advanced Synthesis and Catalysis“