After studying Biology (HU Berlin, Germany), I did my DPhil in Physics (FU Berlin, Germany). After a Postdoc period in Theoretical and Physical Chemistry (Oxford, UK), I did my habilitation in Physical Chemistry (Freiburg, Germany). This interdisciplinary career is quite helpful to get the different disciplines to talk to each other and to carry out fascinating fundamental research at their interface.
The main focus of my research is methodically on Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectroscopy in combination with optical spectroscopy and quantum-chemical calculations. The systems investigated during the DPhil thesis belong to a certain group of blue-light active flavoproteins, namely cryptochromes. Meanwhile, I'm investigating conjugated polymers and their building blocks relevant for organic electronics applications.
Another focus of my current research is developing software and processes aimed at reproducible research, hence good scientific practice.
Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) together with its more widely known couterpart Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) is one of the methods of magnetic resonance spectroscopy.
The own research aims at further developing the method and paticularly the data analysis. This opens up new areas of investigation and allows EPR spectroscopy to become a routine analysis tool. We could establish (time-resolved) EPR spectroscopy in the last years as a tool for complimentary insight into many aspects of the structure-function relationship of irganic semiconductors. This was only possible due to a large network of excellent collaborators.
Organic semiconductors have been widely studied over the last two decades and are currently used in a large range of applications such as light-emitting diodes, field-effect transistors, light detectors, and solar cells. Perhaps the most important advantage of these materials compared to their conventional, inorganic, and mainly silicon-based counterparts is the capability of nearly endlessly and systematically tailoring molecules for the desired purpose using well-established protocols of synthetic chemistry. A detailed understanding of both, the electronic structure as well as the morphology of polymers and their building blocks is essential to develop efficient materials for organic electronics. Furthermore, doping and revealing the underlying mechanisms become more and more important.
Flavins are the most abundant cofactors of proteins in nature. Blue-light active flavoproteins can be divided into three classes: (i) phototropins, (ii) proteins containing BLUF domains, and (iii) photolyases and cryptochromes. Cryptochromes are hot candidates for the magnetic compass of migratory birds. EPR spectroscopy is the method of choice to directly observe the underlying quantum-mechanical states.
Time-resolved EPR of radical pair intermediates in cryptochromes
Mol. Phys. 111:3698–3703, 2013 DOI
A list of my scientific publications