What is “Solvation Science” about?
The majority of chemical reactions, including many that are central to important industrial and virtually all biological processes, take place in a liquid-state environment. Solvents – with water being the most prominent – are used to “solvate” molecular species ranging from industrial reagents to biological molecules in living cells. Solvents also “wet” surfaces such as lipid membranes or metal electrodes, thus creating new interfaces. Understanding solvation is not only relevant to these issues, but will stimulate major advances in emerging key technologies, such as green chemistry and electrochemistry. It is essential for optimizing industrial processes, avoiding environmental hazards, preventing corrosion, or increasing energy efficiency, to list a few key challenges relevant to society. In the life sciences, water is the ubiquitous solvent, sometimes even called the “matrix of life”; understanding its function is crucial for comprehensively unraveling key biological functions.
There is a vast body of literature that considers solvents as inert media for molecular processes. Transcending this traditional view, solvents are now increasingly recognized as playing an active role in their own right. Recent advances in investigative techniques and theory now make possible new approaches to probing, describing, and influencing structure, dynamics, and kinetics of complex solvation phenomena at the molecular level. Solvation Science will provide a unifying framework for understanding and predicting solvent processes.
The research areas which are addressed by the Center for Solvation Science (ZEMOS; German: Zentrum für molekulare Spektroskopie und Simulation solvensgesteuerter Prozesse) at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) are structured in three cross-linked topics:
A. Understanding and Exploiting Solvation in Chemical Processes
B. Connecting Solvation Dynamics with Biomolecular Function
C. Ion Solvation and Charge Transfer at Interfaces
More information are available under Solvation Science @ RUB