Iron, upgraded!

Image: Rahel Welsen

Image: Rahel Welsen

Iron is a versatile, ubiquitous, cheap and sustainable transition metal with unique characteristics and high reactivity. On the one hand, changes in the environment can result in unfavorable or undesirable properties (iron rusts), on the other hand, it can be used to specifically improve reactivity, because changes in the environment of iron also alter its intrinsic properties (such as oxidation states and spin states). CRC 1487 "Iron, upgraded!" aims to manipulate iron in its compounds by precisely altering the chemical environment so that it becomes a selective, versatile, and valuable substitute for rare, toxic, or critical metals used in many green technologies today. In the long term, this should enable the replacement of such metals in catalysis, magnetism, or other applications.

Three phases of work are planned: (1) understand iron, (2) tune iron, (3) optimize iron. In the first four years, basic properties of iron and their dependence on the chemical environment will be studied. In the second phase, strategies for targeted tailoring of the environment of the iron atom will be developed and tested. In the third phase, iron will be optimized for specific properties, increased stability, selectivity and reactivity, and new or improved concepts developed from this will be applied to other metals.

In order to combine different perspectives and expertise, different methodological knowledge and subject cultures, CRC 1487 involves both different departments (chemistry, materials science, physics, mechanical engineering) and different research institutions: The CRC is led at the TU Darmstadt. In addition to working groups from Heidelberg, Marburg and Mülheim an der Ruhr, the CRC brings together experts from the other RMU universities Goethe University Frankfurt and Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.

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