This axis concerns the electrochemical and photoelectrochemical activation of small molecules (H2, CO2, O2, N2) catalyzed by transition metal complexes. This work is part of the promotion of renewable energy carriers and green chemistry. The originality of the approach developed by SPECTRE lies in the development of coupled analytical techniques to better specify the mechanisms of chemical reactivity induced by electron transfer and ultimately to define the parameters essential to the photo- and electro-catalytic efficiency of a molecular catalyst. The techniques developed are mainly cryo-spectroelectrochemistry (UV-vis, IR, RPE) and reaction collisions in mass spectrometry. These studies are supported by calculations of electronic structures - molecular modeling by DFT and other ab initio methods.
In parallel, the transition from homogeneous to heterogeneous catalysis, more compatible with an evolution towards application in the fields of energy and green chemistry, is ensured by the development of methods for grafting transition metal complexes on porous nanomaterials based on carbon or metal oxides (surface engineering). Here again, the coupling of spectroscopic and electrochemical techniques allows characterization of hybrid materials and enhancement of their catalytic properties.