a Homogeneous and supramolecular catalysis, van 't Hoff institute for molecular sciences, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands; j.n.h.reek@uva.nl


Dye sensitized solar cells (DSSC) are devices based on molecular components that convert solar light into electricity. Redox mediators are required to transport charges from one electrode to the other. Dye sensitized electrochemical cells (DSPEC)  are related devices in which the redox mediator is replaced by redox reactions, for example water oxidation and proton reduction, to directly generate fuels from solar energy. Currently, these devices have limited efficiency partly because charge recombination and limited catalyst efficiencies. In our group we have explore supramolecular approaches to tackle some of these challenges, which will be discussed in this lecture. We will demonstrate how to limit charge recombination by implementation of pseudorotaxane designs in the dye structure for p-type DSSC.[1] We also show DSPEC set-ups that generate hydrogen and can perform oxidation of biobased feedstock such as glycerol, in which supramolecular polymer gels play a crucial role in protecting the dye functionalized electrode.[2] Finally, supramolecular approaches have been used to control the properties of water oxidation catalysts and proto reduction catalysis in solar to fuel devices.[3]


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Figure 1: Schematic picture of p-type DSSC with supramolecular machinery (left) and a DSPEC for light driven oxidation in water using gels to protect the electrode.

[1] T. Bouwens, T. M. A. Bakker, J. Hasenack, M. Dieperink, K. Zhu, A.M. Brouwer, A. Huijser, S. Mathew, J. N. H. Reek, Nature Chem. Accepted, 2022, DOI: 10.1038/s41557-022-01068-y. 

[2] D.F. Bruggeman, A.A.H. Laporte, R.J. Detz, S. Mathew, J.N.H. Reek* "Aqueous Biphasic Dye-Sensitized Photosynthesis Cells for TEMPO-Based Oxidation of Glycerol" Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 202261, e202200175

[3] for example: 1) R. Zaffaroni, N. Orth, I. Ivanovic-Burmazovic, J.N.H. Reek* " Hydrogenase mimics in M12L24 nano-spheres to control overpotential and activity in proton reduction catalysis" Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. 2020,59, 18485-18489.  2) F.Yu, D. Poole III, S. Mathew, N. Yan, J. Hessels, N. Orth, I. Ivanovic-Burmazovic J.N.H. Reek*, J. N. H. Control over Electrochemical Water Oxidation Catalysis by Preorganization of Molecular Ruthenium Catalysts in Self-Assembled Nanospheres. Angew Chem Int Ed 201857, 11247.     



Joost Reek finished his masters at the University of Nijmegen in 1991 and received his PhD in 1996 at the same

university. His research was done in the group of Prof. R.J.M. Nolte, were he acquired expertise in the field of

supramolecular chemistry and synthesis. He attended the group of Prof. M.J. Crossley in Sydney as a postdoctoral

fellow in 1996, where he got experienced in porphyrin chemistry and dendrimers.

In January 1998 he became lecturer (senior lecturer in 2003) in the group of Prof. P.W.M.N. van Leeuwen at the

University of Amsterdam (UvA) were he got experienced with transition metal catalysis. Collaborative research

activities with Van Leeuwen focused on transition metal catalysis, catalyst immobilization and dendritic transition

metal catalysis. In this period he started his own successful new line of research on the border of transition metal

catalysis and supramolecular chemistry, which has resulted in several patents, many papers in high impact

journals and an appointment as full professor (chair supramolecular catalysis) at the UvA in 2006. In addition he

founded the company Cat-fix in 2006 to commercialize some of the inventions in the area of supramolecular

catalysis. He launched InCatT (innovative catalyst technologies) as a second spin-off company in 2009. He was

scientific director of the Van ‘t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS) of the UvA (122 fte) from 2013-

2017. Since 2016 he is the scientific director of NIOK (national school on catalysis) and he has been director of

the van ‘t Hoff institute for molecular sciences from 2013-2017. In 2017 he became distinguished faculty

professor at the Faculty of Science of the University of Amsterdam

In 2005 he was elected a young member of Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). As a

young member of the KNAW he visited high schools, organized meetings on interdisciplinary research topics

and he took part in the committee judging the KNAW recognized research schools in the area of natural sciences.

In 2013 he was elected as a new member of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (KHMW), in

2018 he was honoree member of the Israel Chemical Society, and since 2015 he is elected member of the KNAW.

In 2019 he became elected member of the European academy of science. As a KNAW member his takes part in

various committees including van ‘t Hoff committee and science domain KNAW committee, and he is the chair

of KNAW section chemistry. He received numerous grants (total value over M€ 13) including a grant for talented

young chemists, Vici grant (2002) and TOP grants of the national research funding agency NWO, a large grant

from economic affairs and in 2013 the ERC advanced grant. On top of that Reek collaborates with numerous

industries, and he was selected scientist for the CBBC consortium (collaborative program with industry). He was

the coordinator of a successful European research training network, and is involved in other EU networks.

Joost Reek currently heads a research group of around 35 people, with 18 PhD students and 2 post-docs, working

on various topics related to supramolecular chemistry and transition metal catalysis. So far, he has been (co-)

supervisor of over 50 PhD students. He was member of the management team of the NRSCC (top research school

catalysis), member of the board of the European journal of inorganic chemistry, and chair of the study group

Coordination chemistry and homogeneous catalysis of NWO, board member of the KNCV (Royal Netherlands

Chemical Society) and board member of the national BioSolarCell research program.

With over 380 scientific papers published, his H-index is currently 78 (in 2010 he entered the top 1000 of most

cited chemists in the world (643th position), at the age of 43, in 2021 he still was in top 1000). He has (co)edited

a book on dynamic combinatorial chemistry, a new field of science that is strongly inspired by natural selection

events. Reek gave many invited lectures like the Troisième cycle (Switserland, 2007), the DSM-lecture at the

ICOMC (Rennes, 2008) and the Erdtman Lecture in 2009, the molecular science frontier lecture of ICCAS

(Chinese academy of science) in 2018, IFOC lectureship award (Japan 2018), and the Earl Muetterties lecture in

Berkeley. In 2011 he was invited to a DoE workshop on CO2 reduction, to advise the Department of Energy in 

US. In 2014 and 2016 he explained on television (De kennis van nu and toekomstmakers) one of his scientific

dreams to the public.


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