a) The Etzkorn group targets fluorinated molecular tweezers of different molecular architecture in a convergent approach from various tether scaffolds and fluoroarene building blocks. The introduction of fluorine substituents in the arene pincers alters the molecular electrostatic potential (MEP) in the binding cavity - in contrast to almost all known molecular tweezers the MEP is inverted - and thus induces a selectivity for electron-rich guests, e.g., electron-rich arenes or anions. The non-covalent p-p and anion-p interactions between the tweezers and guest units are of fundamental importance in supramolecular chemistry with potential applications in biology, chemistry and their interface. Novel fluorinated molecular tweezers will therefore significantly expand experimental data for molecular recognition that is based on the aforementioned supramolecular binding motifs. Ultimately we target sensing and sequestration of biologically important and environmentally hazardous species, respectively.
b) Strained cage hydrocarbons have traditionally played an important role in (physical) organic chemistry and the group investigates neglected cage olefins. The study of their photochemistry toward more complex structures, the reactivity mode of the olefin units (1,2-; 1,4- vs. laticyclic addition) as well as the preparation of new organometallic complexes are central topics of our endeavors.