Work Group Prof. Dr. F. Temps

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz-Preise 2000

3 December 1999, DFG-Pressemitteilung:

For more Information see here.


Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Preis der DFG nach Kiel

4 December 1999, Kieler Nachrichten:

See Kieler Nachrichten press release as pdf-file (in German): Kieler Nachrichten vom 04.12.1999.


Tag der Offenen Tür der CAU am 7. Mai 2000

29 April 2000, Kieler Nachrichten:

See Kieler Nachrichten press release as pdf-file (in German): Kieler Nachrichten vom 29.04.2000.


Bunsentagung 2003 nach Kiel vergeben

Kiel, 21 September 2000

See Kieler Nachrichten press release as pdf-file (in German): Pressemitteilung-Bunsentagung2003.


Zeichen dafür, dass wir noch konkurrenzfähig sind

9 November 2001, Kieler Nachrichten:

          Prof. Temps together with Dr. Jie Wei
Foto: Kieler Nachrichten

See Kieler Nachrichten press release as pdf-file (in German) here: Kieler Nachrichten vom 09.11.2001



Prof. Temps together with Alexander-von-Humboldt fellow Dr. Jie Wei aligning laser beams for a triple resonance experiment.


Inauguration of Kiel Femtochemistry Laboratory

22 March 2002, Kieler Nachrichten:

KN vom 22.03.2002

See here for the newspaper article  KN vom 22.03.2002 (in German).


How life defends itself against UV light

11 January 2003, Kieler Nachrichten (unizeit #13):


Which strategies does nature exploit to protect the genomic information encoded in the DNA from photodamage by UV radiation - a major cause of mutations? Using sophisticated methods based on ultrafast spectroscopy, we have uncovered clever new defense mechanisms developed by evolution to protect the nucleic acid bases, which form the letters of our genetic code, from photochemical destruction.



See here for the newspaper article (in German): KN vom 11.01.2003 (unizeit # 13)


Bunsentagung 2003 in Kiel

16 May 2003, Informationsdienst Wissenschaft:

      dbg logo

Download complete programme:

Teil 1:  Allgemeine Informationen
Teil 2:  Tabellarische Vortragsübersicht
Teil 3:  Kurzfassungen
Teil 4:  Autorenindex 


Download booklet "Chemistry in Kiel" (in German and English).


Open Door at the Chemistry Department of Kiel University

Kiel, 23 September 2006:

Tag der offenen Tür 2006      Tag der offenen Tür 2006
Photos: Dr. A. Krüger


See Flyer "Tag der offenen Tür 2006" (in German).


Changing Chemistry at the Ocean Surface

Physical Chemistry in the Excellence Cluster The Future Ocean (1 November 2006):

      Future Ocean logo

Chemical processes at the ocean surface are unknowns in current climate models. Physical chemists in the Excellence Cluster "The Future Ocean" in Kiel working in research area A6 unravel the facts (Prof. Dr. D. Wallace and Prof. Dr. F. Temps, Principal Investigators; Prof. Dr. G. Friedrichs, JRG Leader).


Chemistry at the Ocean Surface

26 May 2007, Kieler Nachrichten (unizeit #42):

Chemical processes at the ocean surface are unknowns in current climate models.  Physical chemists in the excellence cluster The Future Ocean in Kiel work to unravel the facts.

Download pdf (in German) "Ozean und Atmosphäre"


Tiny switches with huge effects: New SFB 677 in Kiel takes off!

Kiel, 1 July 2007:


In the new Collaborative Research Centre (Sonderforschungsbereich) CRC 677 "Function by Switching" at Kiel, work groups from the Chemistry, Material Science, and Physics Departments at CAU Kiel develop tiny molecular switches driven by light to realize new functions and functional materials. The SFB, inaugurated July 1 2007, is chaired by Prof. Rainer Herges of the Otto Diels Institute of Organic Chemistry.  We participate with a collaborative project led by Prof. Bernd Hartke, Dr. Falk Renth, and Prof. Temps, in which we explore the dynamics of photochromic molecular switches in solution and more complex molecular environments using femtosecond spectroscopy and by quantum chemical calculations (SFB project A1).

Read more on SFB 677 and more on subproject A1 (Hartke, Renth, Temps).


JACS article hot of the press (published on the web 10 July 2007)

10 July 2007:


Ultrafast Electronic Relaxation in Guanosine is Promoted by Hydrogen Bonding with Cytidine

Nina K. Schwalb and Friedrich Temps

J. Am. Chem. Soc. 129, 9272 - 9273 (2007),  DOI: 10.1021/ja073448+



The excited electronic state lifetime of the guanosine−cytidine (G···C) Watson−Crick (WC) base pair has been directly measured in comparison to free G and C. Measurements have been carried out in solution in chloroform, where the formation of H-bonded base pairs is strongly favored, using the technique of femtosecond fluorescence up-conversion spectroscopy. The results show that the formation of the H-bonded WC pair leads to steep acceleration of the ultrafast nonradiative electronic deactivation compared to the free nucleosides, especially G, which can be explained by an intermolecular G-to-C electron-induced proton-transfer mechanism in the excited state. The results are of vital interest for bridging the huge gap between the well-known electronic properties of the isolated nucleobases and the strikingly different dynamics of DNA molecules.
Link to JACS Abstract      Download in HTML Format     Download as PDF (44 K)


November 23: "The 2007 Night of the Profs"

Kiel, Auditorium Maximum at CAU, 23 November 2007:

Discover science - at a big CAU science party - in five lecture theatres non-stop from 8 pm to 2 am.

The 2007 Night of the Profs was a big success.  The lecture halls were packed until 2 am.  An audience of about two hundred, among them many high school students, university students from chemistry and different other fields, young and old scientists, and interested citizens, gathered to listen to Prof. Temps' talk on "How our DNA protects itself from UV Radiation Damage - New Insights on Hydrogen Bonds" in lecture theatre A from 1 - 2 am.  Many listeners, who did not arrive early, stood in the back of the lecture hall to learn about research results on the photophysics and photochemistry of the arguably most important molecules of life, the DNA and its building blocks.

Download of pdf file "The 2007 Night of the Profs"


Science article hot of the press (published 10 October 2008)

10 October 2008: 


Base Sequence and Higher-Order Structure Induce the Complex Excited-State Dynamics in DNA

Nina K. Schwalb and Friedrich Temps

Science 322, 243 - 245 (2008),  DOI: 10.1126/science.1161651


DNA dissipates ultraviolet light more effectively when it consists of a mixed sequence than when it is an extended run of the same nucleotide.

The high photostability of DNA is commonly attributed to efficient radiationless electronic relaxation processes. We used femtosecond time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy to reveal that the ensuing dynamics are strongly dependent on base sequence and are also affected by higher-order structure. Excited electronic state lifetimes in dG-doped d(A)20single-stranded DNA and dG·dC-doped d(A)20·d(T)20 double-stranded DNA decrease sharply with the substitution of only a few bases. In duplexes containing d(AGA)·d(TCT) or d(AG)·d(TC) repeats, deactivation of the fluorescing states occurs on the subpicosecond time scale, but the excited-state lifetimes increase again in extended d(G) runs. The results point at more complex and molecule-specific photodynamics in native DNA than may be evident in simpler model systems.

Abstract in Science      Download as HTML      Download as PDF     Supporting Online Information

Researchers at Kiel University report sequence-dependent effects of light on DNA

CAU press release, Kiel, 10 October 2008:

DNA, the molecule that acts as the carrier of genetic information in all forms of life, is highly resistant against alteration by ultraviolet light, but understanding the mechanism for its photostability presents some puzzling problems. A key aspect is the interaction between the four chemical bases that make up the DNA molecule. Researchers at Kiel University have succeeded in showing that DNA strands differ in their light sensitivity depending on their base sequences. Their results are reported by Nina Schwalb and colleagues in the current issue of the journal Science appearing on October 10, 2008.

It has been known for many years that the individual bases that code the genetic information contained in DNA show a high degree of photostability, as the energy that they take up from UV radiation is immediately released again. Surprisingly, however, it is found that in DNA, which consists of many bases, those mechanisms are ineffective or only partially effective. It seems that the deactivation of UV-excited DNA molecules must instead occur by some completely different mechanisms specific to DNA, which are not yet understood. Through measurements by a variety of methods on DNA molecules with different base sequences, the research group led by Professor Friedrich Temps at the Institute of Physical Chemistry of Kiel University has now been able to confirm and clarify that assumption.

According to Professor Temps, "DNA achieves its high degree of photostability through its complex double-helix structure. The interactions between bases that are stacked one above another within a DNA strand, and the hydrogen bonds between the base pairs of the two complementary single strands in the double-helix play key roles. Through the different interactions that we have observed the DNA acts to some extent as its own sun-protection".

Ph.D. student Nina Schwalb investigated many different base combinations in synthetically-produced DNA molecules. Using a femtosecond pulsed laser spectroscope, she measured the characteristic energy release for each combination. She was able to measure the time for which the molecules continued to fluoresce, and thus how long they stored the light energy. She found that for some base combinations these fluorescence ‘lifetimes’ were only about 100 femtoseconds, whereas for others they were up to a thousand times longer. A femtosecond is one millionth of a billionth of a second.


Nina Schwalb adjusting the femtosecond laser spectroscope
Nina Schwalb adjusting her femtosecond laser spectroscope.
Photo: Jürgen Haacks, (c) Jürgen Haacks.


Can genetic information be controlled by light?

Commenting on the conclusions from her research, Nina Schwalb says: “We have investigated the photophysical properties and have found that different base combinations have widely different fluorescence lifetimes. This could lead to the development of a new diagnostic method whereby laser light could be used to directly recognise certain genetic sequences without, for example, having to mark the DNA with dyes as in the method used at present".

One might also envisage linking the photophysical properties to genetic characteristics. When these mechanisms are better understood, it might in the long term become possible to repair gene mutations using laser radiation.

"In the field of nano-electronics it has already been shown that synthetically produced DNA can be used as ‘nano-wires’. On the basis of the different reaction times of the molecules it might one day become possible to use laser pulses to ‘switch’ specific molecules. It might even be possible under some circumstances to make transistors from DNA that would work through the hydrogen bonds," explains Professor Temps.

The work of Nina Schwalb is being supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) as part of the project “Ultrafast Photodynamics of DNA". 


Click here to download above photo at higher resolution (321.8 kB). 

Click here for press relase on CAU homepage. 

Download Report in Kieler Nachrichten (10 Oct. 2008).


"Chemie ist eine ungeheuer faszinierende Wissenschaft"

Kieler Nachrichten, 17 June 2009:

Kiel University offers more than 60 courses of studies.  Prof. Temps, student advisor for chemistry students, offers his insights into why Chemistry is a tremendously fascinating subject opening a vast number of high potential fields in an interview with Martin Geist in the June 17, 2009 issue of Kieler Nachrichten.

Read the article in Kieler Nachrichten (in German)


JACS communication hot of the press (published on the web: 14 October 2009)

14 October 2009: 


Highly Efficient Reversible ZE Photoisomerization of a Bridged Azobenzene with Visible Light through Resolved S1(nπ*) Absorption Bands

Ron Siewertsen, Hendrikje Neumann, Bengt Buchheim-Stehn, Rainer Herges, Christian Näther, Falk Renth and Friedrich Temps

J. Am. Chem. Soc. 131, 15594 - 15595 (2009),  DOI: 10.1021/ja906547d  




The reversible ZE photoswitching properties of the (Z) and (E) isomers of the severely constrained bridged azobenzene derivative 5,6-dihydrodibenzo[c,g][1,2]diazocine (1) were investigated quantitatively by UV/vis absorption spectroscopy in solution in n-hexane. In contrast to normal azobenzene (AB), 1 has well separated S1(nπ*) absorption bands, peaking at λZ = 404 nm and λE = 490 nm. Using light at λ = 385 nm, it was found that 1Z can be switched to 1Ewith very high efficiency, Γ = 92 ± 3%. Conversely, 1E can be switched back to 1Z using light at λ = 520 nm with ∼100% yield. The measured quantum yields are ΦZ→E = 72 ± 4% and ΦE→Z = 50 ± 10%. The thermal lifetime of the (E) isomer is 4.5 ± 0.1 h at 28.5 °C. The observed photochromic and photoswitching properties of 1 are much more favorable than those for normal AB, making our title compound a promising candidate for interesting applications as a molecular photoswitch especially at low temperatures. The severe constraints by the ethylenic bridge apparently do not hinder but favor the ZE photoisomerization reactions.

Link to JACS Abstract      Download in HTML Format     Download as PDF (612 K)


Background Information on the Oil Accident in the Gulf of Mexico

Kiel, 11 August 2010:

    FO_Gulf of Mexico

The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon platform on 22 April 2010 caused the second-largest man-made oil pollution of the sea and the surrounding shores ever.  780 Million Liters of crude oil flowed into the Gulf waters, where they caused severe damage to the unique ecosystems along the Louisiana coastline, in the Mississippi delta, and on the shores of the adjacent states.

The estimation of the ecological and economic consequences of the accident is highly complex and poses many challenging questions.  Geologists, chemists, oceanographers, biologists, lawyers, and economists of the Kiel Cluster of Excellence "The Future Ocean" ("Der Ozean der Zukunft") share their insights into the problems involved with the stopping of the leak, the consequences of the pollution, and the future research needs in a 40 page background paper. 

Click the following link to download the paper (in German language only): Die Ölkatastrophe im Golf von Mexiko


New Cluster of Excellence "Materials for Life" takes a step forward

Kiel, 02 March 2011:


The joint committee for the Excellence Initiative has invited Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel (CAU) to submit a full application for the planned new Kiel Cluster of Excellence "Materials for Life (M4L)". M4L's mission is to explore new intelligent materials exhibiting complex multiple sensing and actuating properties towards medial applications. Materials scientists, physicists, chemists and medical researchers from CAU, the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicon Technology (ISIT) and the Helmholtz Centre for Materials and Coastal Research Geesthacht (HZG) join forces in a comprehensive multidisciplinary research thrust following novel bottom-up and top-down strategies.

Molecular structure, interactions and dynamics and supramolecular mechanisms at biomolecule/materials interfaces form an essential research focus in the M4L Cluster, where they are explored via advanced experimentation and first-principles theory in Research Area A1 (Prof. Dr. R. Berndt and  Prof. Dr. F. Temps, Principal Investigators).

Click here for the CAU press release.


SFB 677 "Function by Switching" extended for second funding period

Kiel, 25 May 2011:


The German Research Foundation (DFG) will fund the Collaborative Research Centre (Sonderforschungsbereich) 677 "Function by Switching" at CAU Kiel with about 8 million EUR for a second period until 2015. In one continuing (A1) and one new project (B10) in our group, we will investigate the dynamics of molecular switches in solution, in self-assembled monolayers on nanoparticles and on flat surfaces, and in functional photoresponsive environments and systems. To achieve our highly challenging goals, we use state-of-the-art femto- and picosecond time-resolved optical spectroscopies (e.g. broadband femtosecond transient absorption, femtosecond fluorescence up-conversion, femtosecond broadband fluorescence, vibrational sum frequency generation (VSFG), and second harmonic generation (SHG) spectroscopies).

Within SFB 677, work groups from Chemistry, Physics, and Materials Science at CAU Kiel join forces in 18 sub-projects to develop and investigate tiny light-driven molecular switches to realize new functions and functional materials. The Collaborative Research Centre has been inaugurated on 1 July 2007. The speaker is Prof. Rainer Herges of the Otto Diels Institute of Organic Chemistry. Our continuing project A1 is led jointly by Prof. Bernd HartkeDr. Falk Renth, and Prof. Temps, our new project B8 is led jointly by Prof. Gernot Friedrichs and Prof. Temps.

Please contact us for questions and new open positions for Ph.D. and Master/Diploma Thesis projects.

Click here for the CAU press release.

Click here for the SFB 677 homepage.

Click here for more information on project A1: "Ultrafast Dynamics of Photo-induced Switching Processes".

Click here for more information on project B8: "Spectroscopic Investigation of the Switching of Azobenzene-based Monolayers on Gold and SiO2".


Spring Meeting of the German Physical Society 2012 in Stuttgart

Stuttgart, 12 - 16 March 2012:

Ph.D. students Thomas Michalak, Mayra Stuhldreier and Katharina Röttger presented their recent results in three talks at the 2012 Spring Meeting of the German Physical Society.

Read their abstracts:

Photodissoziation von fluorierten Acetonen nach Anregung in den S1-Zustand

Ultrafast solvation dynamics of ferulic acid at a micellar surface

Ultrafast Electronic Deactivation Dynamics of the Rare Natural Nucleobases Xanthine and Hypoxanthine

See also Christian Greve's abstract (Max-Born-Institut für Nichtlineare Optik und Kurzzeitspektroskopie, Berlin) on 2D fs IR spectra of Adenosine-Thyidine base pairs:

Ultrafast dynamics of NH stretch vibrations in adenosine-thymidine base pairs in chloroform solution

Link to the complete programme: DPG-Verhandlungen


Kiel Cluster of Excellence Future Ocean gets funding for phase II

Kiel, 15 June 2012:


Champagne bottles were opened after the announcement by the German Research Foundation (DFG) on June 15 to fund the Excellence Cluster "Future Ocean" for a second five-year period. The DFG also announced continued funding for the Excellence Cluster "Inflammation at Interfaces" and the Graduate School "Human Development in Landscapes". The application for the Cluster "Materials for Life" did not win, but Nano and Surface Sciences with heavy involvement of the Chemistry and Physics Departments will remain the fourth research focus of CAU.

How do micro-scale processes at ocean interfaces affect fluxes of climate-relevant substances? This is the key question of the new Research Area R7: Ocean Interfaces of Future Ocean, where Physical Chemistry is of central importance. The research combines state-of-the-art molecular, microbiological and biogeochemical analytical techniques, laser spectroscopy, micro- and mesocosm experimentation, in-situ measurements and theoretical modeling. Three research foci have been identified:


Grafik Future Ocean


Focus 1 investigates formation, retention and emission processes of climate-relevant substances.

Focus 2 links biological imprints on extracellular organic matter to interface properties by investigating the accumulation of organic substances and their intense microbial transformation in the surface ocean boundary layer.

Focus 3 investigates (i) chemical aspects of the ocean as a major source and sink for radiatively and chemically active atmospheric trace gases and (ii) the specific roles of the prevalent organic microlayer in sea-air gas exchange processes and as a biochemical reactor.

Link to CAU press release.

Link to Future Ocean homepage.

Link to research area R7: Ocean Interfaces for more information on our research goals.


Disperse Red 1 featured on cover of Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences

26 June 2012:


In a femtosecond time-resolved fluorescence up-conversion and broadband transient absorption study carried out in project A1 of the Kiel Collaborative Research Centre 677 "Function by Switching" (SFB 677), we showed that the ultrafast photoisomerization of the push-pull azobenzene photoswitch Disperse Red 1 proceeds via a two-step, sequential mechanism: 

J. Bahrenburg, K. Röttger, R. Siewertsen, F. Renth, F. Temps, Photochem. Photobiol. Sci. 11, 1210 - 1219 (2012). DOI: 10.1039/C2PP05400K.

The paper was selected by the editors for the cover of the July 2012 issue.




Click here to download and read the paper.

Click PPS Cover July 2012 to see a large version of the cover page.


32nd International Symposium on Free Radicals, 21 - 26 July 2013

Kiel, 18 July 2012:

The 32nd International Symposium on Free Radicals will take place in Potsdam, Germany, from 21 - 26 July 2013 at Seminaris SeeHotel, less than 5 km from the beautiful parks and palaces of Sanssouci. 


Want to know why you should participate?  The Scientific Programme will be superb!

There will be 22 Invited Talks, a series of Hot Topic Talks selected from the contributed poster abstracts, and two large Poster Sessions. Students who wish to present a poster and register early will obtain assistance towards their registration fees.

Moreover, Potsdam, just 35 km from the center of Germany's hot and sizzling capital Berlin, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that features more than 20 parks and palaces, the larges ensemble of palaces north of the Alps. And it does not need to be mentioned that Berlin, which has become one of the top tourist destinations in Europe, offers countless landmarks and cultural highlights.  

To learn more about the Scientific Programme and the opportunities around the Symposium, visit the Free Radicals 2013 website, and subscribe to the Free Radicals 2013 Newsletter for receiving up-to-date information!


Opening of the New Physical Chemistry Building

Kiel, 17 October 2012:

The new building to which the Institute of Physical Chemistry is moving in 2012 has been officially opened. The Minister of Education and Science of the State of Schleswig-Holstein, Professor Waltraud 'Wara' Wende passed the symbolic key of the building to CAU President Professor Gerhard Fouquet. The new institute building offers 3200 m2 of user area and features modern, state-of-the art teaching and research laboratories. It finally overcomes the severe safety and fire hazards haunting us in the old building. The new building is located in Max-Eyth-Strasse 1, opposite to the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry and close to the Institute of Organic Chemistry.


New Institute of Physical Chemistry 1


New Institute of Physical Chemistry 2


New Institute of Physical Chemistry 3
Photos: Jürgen Haack                                                                             (c) CAU Kiel


Click here for the official CAU press release.


32nd International Symposium on Free Radicals

Potsdam, 21 - 26 July 2013


124 scientists from 23 countries gathered for the 32nd International Symposium on Free Radicals from 21 - 26 July 2013 at Seminaris SeeHotel in Potsdam, Germany, less than 5 km from the beautiful parks and palaces of Sanssouci. The Symposium featured 22 Invited Talks, 12 Hot Topic Talks, and 87 Poster Presentations.

The Scientific Programme started on Monday morning with an outstanding talk by Hans Jacob Wörner, ETH Zürich, who received the 2013 Broida Prize. In his presentation entitled "Probing Electronic Structure and Dynamics with High Harmonic Spectroscopy", he highlighted new frontiers in electron dynamics by attosecond spectroscopy which will influence free radical research for years to come. 


FRS2013 Presentation      FRS2013_5.jpg      FRS2013 Poster Session


FRS2013 Schloss Cecilienhof      FRS2013_6.jpg      FRS2013 Conference Dinner


Stimulating presentations and lively scientific discussions followed throughout the entire week.    

Photos: K. Laß, F. Renth             

The conference excursion by boat on Wednesday led to Schloss Cecilienhof, the site of the Potsdam Conference in 1945. Preceded by a guided tour through Sanssouci Palace, the banquet on Thursday took place at Restaurant "Historische Mühle". The PCCP poster prizes were received by Volker Lutter for his poster on "High-Resolution Infrared Spectroscopy of Ge2C3" and Nancy Faßheber for her poster on "Glyoxal Photolysis as a Quantitative Source of HNO Studied by Frequency Modulation Spectroscopy".

Prof. Terry A. Miller, Ohio State University and Chair of the International Committee, announced that the 33rd International Symposium on Free Radicals will be held from 02 - 07 August 2015 in Squaw Valley, CA.

24 years after the German reunification, the 2013 Free Radicals Symposium has been the first in former East Germany. Jugded from the enthusiastic comments we received after closing, it was a great success. In the words of two participants, the meeting was a "wonderful combination of scientific engagement, cultural experiences, and friendly interactions", "the science was superb ... and the excursions were very, very nice". Everyone already looks forward to the 2015 Symposium!

Click the following links to visit the FRS2013 homepage, to download the FRS2013_AbstractBook, or to view the FRS2013 Photo Gallery.


Chemical Communication hot of the press (published on the web 15 July 2014)

15 July 2014: 


Photoisomerisation and Ligand-Controlled Reversible Aggregation of Azobenzene-Functionalised Gold Nanoparticles

Anja Köhntopp, Alexandra Dabrowski, Michal Malicki and Friedrich Temps  

Chem. Commun. 50, 10105 - 10107 (2014),  DOI: 10.1039/C4CC02250E 



The photochemical behaviour of functionalised gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) carrying azobenzenethiolate–alkylthiolate monolayers was investigated. Repeated transcis andcistrans isomerisation cycles could be performed in all cases with high efficiency. Reversible photoinduced aggregation was observed when azothiolates with long alkyl spacers (≥C7) were combined with short (C5) alkylthiolate coligands. The choice of a coligand thus offers control over the aggregation properties of the nanoparticles.

Abstract on ChemComm Homepage    Download PDF    Supplementary Information (1219K)


SFB 677 "Function by Switching" funded for third period

Kiel, 22 May 2015:


The German Research Foundation (DFG) has announced that it will continue to fund the Collaborative Research Centre (Sonderforschungsbereich) 677 "Function by Switching" at CAU Kiel for a third period until 2019 with another 8.9 million EUR. In one continuing (A1) and one new project (A7) in our group, we investigate the dynamics of molecular switches in solution and in functional photoresponsive environments and systems (e.g. polymer colloids, polymer films and monolayers on quartz surfaces and on nanoparticles). To achive our ambitious goals, we use state-of-the-art femto- and picosecond time-resolved optical spectroscopies (e.g. broadband femtosecond transient absorption, fs fluorescence up-conversion and fs broadband fluorescence) in the VIS and UV regions between 220 - 800 nm. In addition, we recently complemented our ultrafast instrumentation for the third CRC funding period by a new femtosecond UV pump / IR probe spectrometer allowing for detection in the IR between 900 - 3900 cm-1

The CRC encompasses 16 scientific sub-projects, one Public Outreach project and an integrated Graduate Research Training Group. Work groups from the Chemistry, Physics, and Materials Science departments at CAU Kiel collaborate closely to develop and investigate tiny light-driven molecular switches for realizing new functions and functional materials. The CRC has been established in 2007. The speaker is Prof. Rainer Herges of the Otto Diels Institute of Organic Chemistry. 

Our continuing project A1 is led jointly by Prof. Bernd Hartke, Dr. Falk Renth, and Prof. Temps, our new project A07 is led jointly by Prof. TempsProf. Ulrich Lüning, and Prof. Bernd Hartke

Please contact us for questions and ask for available Ph.D. and Master/Diploma Thesis projects.

Click here for the CAU press release.

Click here for the SFB 677 homepage.

Click here for more information on project A1: "Ultrafast Dynamics of Photo-induced Switching Processes".

Click here for more information on project A7: "Dynamics of H-Transfer Switches".


Wilhelm Jost Memorial Lecture 2015 to be given by Prof. F. Temps

Göttingen and Kiel, 01 July 2015:

The 2015 Wilhelm Jost Memorial Lecture sponsored by the Academy of Sciences Göttingen on proposition by the Deutsche Bunsengesellschaft für Physikalische Chemie is traditionally given at the former work places of W. Jost and additional institutions to commemorate his many achievements and merits.  

The title of the 2015 Wilhelm Jost Lecture to be given by F. Temps is

"Ultrafast Light-Induced Transformations in Molecular Switches and DNA Building Blocks"  


Lecture Calendar:

Date University          Date University
18.11.2015 Martin Luther University Halle    19.11.2015  University of Leipzig 
25.11.2015  Technical University Darmstadt    01.12.2015 Technical University Kaiserslautern 
02.12.2015  Philipps University Marburg    03.12.2015  Leibniz University Hannover 
09.12.2015  Humboldt University Berlin    10.12.2015  Georg August University Göttingen* 
*lecture with modified title 


Link to the Academy of Sciences Göttingen, and link to the list of previous Wilhelm Jost Lecturers.


Cover article on G∙C base pair in Angew. Chem. hot of the press

13 October 2015: 

"Ultraviolet Absorption Induces Hydrogen-Atom Transfer in G∙C Watson-Crick" DNA Base Pairs in Solution"
Katharina Röttger, Hugo J. B. Marroux, Michael P. Grubb,
Philip M. Coulter, Hendrik Böhnke, Alexander S. Henderson,
M. Carmen Galan, Friedrich Temps, Andrew J. Orr-Ewing
and Gareth M. Roberts
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 54, 14719 - 14712 (2015).


Abstract     Download PDF     Supplementary Information     Enlarged Cover     CAU Press Release


CAU awards Germany scholarships

Kiel, 28 October 2015:  

CAU president Prof. Lutz Kipp and vice-president Prof. Ilka Parchmann announced the winners of the 2015/16 Germany Scholarships (Deutschlandstipendium) at Christian-Albrechts-University in a festive ceremony at the Science Center. This year marks the third in which we contributed with funding for a one-year stipend, open to all academic disciplines in the tradition of CAU as "universitas".  


Germany Scholarships 2015 Group Photo
Photo: Christina Kloodt  


"Affording their studies has become very difficult for many students in recent years, as little if any time remains since the conversion to the Bachelor/Master system for financing their living expenses by working besides their studies during the semester or in the semester breaks. A Germany Scholarship is not only a help, but also a special recognition and motivation. We are extraordinarily glad to be able to support and honor our best, most committed and engaged young talent at CAU in this way."

The Germany Scholarship provides financial and non-material support to high-achieving and committed students at German universities from all over the world. Businesses, foundations and private individuals sponsor young talent with a pledge of 50 % of the cost of a stipend per year. The Federal Government matches each donation with the other 50 %. 

Click here to view the above photograph in larger format, click here for the official CAU press release.


Friedrich Temps receives Wilhelm Jost Medal

Göttingen, 10 December 2015:

       F. Wilhelm Jost
F. Wilhelm Jost

Friedrich Temps received the Wilhelm Jost Medal of the Academy of Sciences Göttingen for the 2015 Wilhelm Jost Memorial Lecture

"Ultrafast Light-Induced Transformations in Molecular Switches and DNA Building Blocks"   

The Wilhelm Jost Memorial Lecture and Medal is awarded by the Academy of Sciences Göttingen and jointly by the Deutsche Bunsengesellschaft für Physikalische Chemie to commemorate the many scientific achievements and merits of F. Wilhelm Jost (1903 - 1968). The Lecture is traditionally given at the former work places of W. Jost, in Halle, Berlin, Hannover, Leipzig, Marburg, Darmstadt and Göttingen. The medal is presented after the last lecture in Göttingen.

Links to lecture scheduleAcademy of Sciences Göttingenlist of previous Jost lecturerslarger photo of Jost Medal.


New SFB 677 video podcast online: "Ultrafast Molecular Switches Caught in the Act"

Kiel, 15 December 2015:

Photochemically driven molecular switches are extremely fast: Typically, the switching process takes just 1 picosecond (10‑12 s). To understand the underlying molecular mechanisms, it is necessary therefore to investigate them on the time scale of femtoseconds (10‑15 s). Experimentally, this can be done with modern methods of ultrafast spectroscopy, as applied in our work group. In complementary work, the molecular switching dynamics is simulated theoretically in the group of Professor Bernd Hartke. A new video podcast by the Kiel CRC 677 "Function by Switching" illustrates our approach:  


SFB video podcast
Click on image to start the video in a new page.


In combined studies of this kind within CRC 677, the photochemical mechanisms of basic switches like azobenzenes and furylfulgides have been analyzed in high details. This, in turn, allows us to systematically improve these molecules, i.e. to develop molecular systems that can be switched from one state to the other more selectively, more rapidly, more efficiently and more robustly. These achievements directly translate to improved applications of the switches, for example in functional materials or as tiny actuators and motors in molecular machines. The video podcast illustrates one of our improvements: An additional bridge between the two phenyl rings of azobenzene improves its switching properties dramatically, by shortening the molecular pathways from one state to the other, and by eliminating other molecular movements that would reduce the switching efficiency. Additionally, the bridge separates the excitation light wavelengths for the forward and backward switching directions. 


JPC Letter on "Femtosecond Dynamics of Azobenzene on Gold Nanoparticles" hot of the press

09 March 2016: 


Femtosecond Time-Resolved Dynamics of trans-Azobenzene on Gold Nanoparticles

Anja Köhntopp, Mark Dittner and Friedrich Temps  

J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 7, 1088 - 1095 (2016),  DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.6b00102

Azobenzene on Gold Nanoparticle

We report a first femtosecond time-resolved transient absorption study of the photoinduced ultrafast dynamics of trans-azobenzene (AB) on gold nanoparticles (AuNPs). The observed changes in optical density following excitation at λ = 357 nm were analyzed by using temperature-dependent Mie theory and by Lorentzian band fitting to disentangle the ultrafast relaxation of the local surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) excitation of the Au core and the electronic deactivation of the attached AB ligands. The analysis of the dynamics associated with the AB photochrome yielded lifetime constants of τ1 = 1.2 ± 0.2 ps and τ2 = 4.7 ± 1.1 ps. Both values together indicate surprisingly little difference in the dynamics of the AB ligand on the AuNPs vs in solution. Our results thus highlight the extraordinarily efficient electronic decoupling of the azo chromophore and the Au core by the alkyl linker chain.    

Link to JCPL Homepage    Download PDF    Download HTML    Supplementary Information  


Cover article on pyrimidine bases in Faraday Discussions on Ultrafast Imaging of Photochemical Dynamics

06 January 2017: 

   Faraday Discussion 194  
"Probing the excited state relaxation dynamics of pyrimidine nucleosides in chloroform solution"
Katharina Röttger, Hugo J. B. Marroux, Hendrik Böhnke,
David T. J. Morris, Angus T. Voice, Friedrich Temps, 
Gareth M. Roberts and Andrew J. Orr-Ewing
Faraday Discuss. 194, 683 - 708 (2016).


Abstract     Download PDF     View Full Size Image (59 KB)


XMP paper selected as Editor's Research Highlight in Focus on Chemistry

Kiel, 30 January 2017:

     molecules logo

We happily report that the chief editor of MDPI has selected our recent paper in Molecules, vol. 22, p. 160 (2017) by Katharina Röttger, Rebecca Stellmacher, Mayra C. Stuhldreier and Friedrich Temps on the

Ultrafast Electronic Deactivation Dynamics of Xanthosine Monophosphate

as Research Highlight in the January 30 edition of Focus on Chemistry.

Abstract: Ultrafast energy dissipation is a crucial factor for the photostability of DNA and RNA, but even some of the key electronic deactivation pathways in monomeric nucleic acid building stones are still controversial. Here, we report on the excited-state dynamics of the rare nucleotide xanthosine monophosphate as a function of deprotonation state (XMP vs. XMP ) and excitation wavelength ( λpump =  278–243 nm) by femtosecond time-resolved fluorescence and absorption spectroscopy. We show that the predominating relaxation channel leads to a return of the photo-excited molecules to the electronic ground state in τ ∼ 1 ps. The mechanism likely involves an out-of-plane deformation of the five-membered ring, different from the main electronic deactivation pathways in the canonical purine bases adenine and guanine. The results are discussed in terms of the structural and electronic differences of XMP compared to the canonical nucleotides.

To read the full article see: DOI 10.3390/molecules22010160 


Sebastian Megow gave invited talk at DPG Spring Meeting

Mainz, 07 March 2017:  

Sebastian Megow's presentation at the DPG spring meeting 2017 in Mainz was upgraded by the organizers to an invited main talk due to the novelty and the huge interest in switching the spin state of transition metal complexes in solution at room temperature:

"Ultrafast dynamics of a magnetically bistable molecular switch by fs transient absorption spectroscopy"

Sebastian Megow*, Julia Bahrenburg*, Hendrik Böhnke*, Mats Bohnsack*, Mark Dittner*, Marcel Dommaschk**, Rainer Herges**, and Friedrich Temps* 
*Institute of Physical Chemistry and **Otto-Diels-Institute of Organic Chemistry, Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel 


Zwei Studenten und eine Tasse Kaffee
Photo-induced spin-state switching reactions of the azypridine Ni-porphyrin.   


The paper presented first results of our femtosecond studies of the photoreversible switching dynamics between the trans or low-spin configuration and the cis or high-spin configuration of an azopyridine-functionalized nickel-porphyrin, the so-called "Ni(II)-porphyrin record player" developed by our colleagues in the Otto Diels Institute of Organic Chemistry at CAU Kiel. The results show that the dynamics in both directions are determined by transitions between the Ni(d2) and Ni(d,d) excited states. A second highlight was the quantum yield determination for the switching from high-spin to low spin. 

Femtosecond spectroscopy at this level of complexity requires the collaboration of a large number of researchers with different expertise. This is reflected by the long list of co-authors. 

The abstract of the paper is accessible here in the DPG Verhandlungen. 

A second talk was given by Jonas Kus (co-authored by Jonas, Ole Hüter and Friedrich Temps), who reported on "Long-lived coherence with multiple vibrational frequencies in pentafluoropyridine as a probe of ππ*- πσ* vibronic coupling" (click here to read the abstract). 


Ole Hüter receives Familie Schindler Prize 2016

Kiel, 06 July 2017:

Congratulations to Dr. Ole Hüter for the 2016 Familie Schindler Prize for an outstanding Ph.D. Thesis in the field of Physical Chemistry!

Ole obtained his Ph.D. in our group in 2016 with a thesis on the "Femtochemistry of Vibronically Coupled Excited Electronic States of Carbonyl Compounds and Highly Fluorinated Benzene". During his work, he set up a highly versatile combined femtosecond time-of-flight mass spectrometer (fsTOF-MS) and photoelectron imaging (fsPEI) spectrometer for investigations of the ultrafast vibronic dynamics of electronically excited organic molecules in a pulsed supersonic molecular beam. He then used both techniques to study the photodissociation dynamics of acetone and other carbonyl compounds after excitation to the S1 (nπ*) state. He could show that the S1-excited molecules readily absorb another UV photon to reach high-lying Rydberg states, due to the huge absorption cross sections of those Rydberg states, and then quickly undergo dissociation. This process likely explains the alleged fast dissociation of acetone from the S1 state observed previously by Sergej Dziarzhytski by photofragment imaging in our group and in other laboratories. Ole also identified the origin of pronounced long-lived coherent dynamics of the TOF-MS and PEI signals of pentafluorobenzene (PFB). According to his results, the observed oscillations orginate from strong vibronic coupling of the optically bright ππ* state with the πσ* state at about 1 eV higher.

His work has already led to four valuable publications in J. Chem. Phys. and the like, with some more papers being on the way.


Dennis Bank's and Hendrik Böhnke's poster presentations upgraded to talks at major conferences

Kiel, 24 July 2017:

Dennis Bank and Hendrik Böhnke both had their posters, which they had submitted for presentation at two important international symposia, unexpectedly upgraded to talks by the international organizing committees of the conferences! Dennis reported on his study of the "Ultrafast Photoisomerization Dynamics of Heterodiazocines upon S1(nπ*) Photoexcitation by Femtosecond Electronic Absorption Spectroscopy" at ICP2017, the 28th International Conference on Photochemistry in Strasbourg from 16 - 21 July 2017. Hendrik gave his talk entitled "Following the Ultrafast Dynamics of a Bistable Intramolecular H-Transfer Switch" at TRVS2017, the Time Resolved Vibrational Spectroscopy Meeting 2017 in Cambridge, UK, which also took place from 16 - 21 July 2017. More work, but more honor for both!  

Click to read Dennis' and Hendrik's abstracts.


Jonas' and Ole's paper on pentafluoropyridine selected by JCP as 2017 Editor's Choice Article

Kiel, 28 February 2018:

Congratulations to Jonas and Ole for having their recent paper on pentafluoropyridine selected by the editors of JCP as 2017 Editor's Choice Article!

The article, co-authored by Jonas A. Kus, Ole Hüter and Friedrich Temps, with the title "Real-time observation of multi-mode vibronic coherence in pentafluoropyridine" was published in J. Chem. Phys. 47, 013938 (2017), DOI: 10.1063/1.4983306. As it is reported, Jonas and Ole discovered that out-of-plane vibrational motion of pentafluoropyridine creates strong multi-mode vibronic coupling between the first ππ* and πσ* excited electronic states. A resulting long-lived, pronounced electronic coherence of both states was experimentally observed using femtosecond mass spectrometry and photoelectron imaging spectroscopy. Oscillations with frequencies of 72 cm-1, 144 cm-1, 251 cm-1, and 281 cm-1 could be followed in time for more than 10 picoseconds.

Click here to see the list of the 2017 JCP Editor's Choice Articles, here to download the paper from the JCP website, or here to download the 2017 JCP Editor's Choice Articles booklet as pdf.