Chemistry professor Gregory Scholes

Princeton University, 1 Nassau Hall, Princeton 08544. 609-258-3000. Christopher Eisgruber, president.

Princeton University and collaborators have received $10 million from the Department of Energy to establish an Energy Frontier Research Center with a focus on “bioinspired light-escalated chemistry (BioLEC).”

The award will be funded at a total of $10.75 million over a four-year award period beginning with fiscal year 2018. Princeton is one of 42 Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) nationwide, which split $100 million in funding between them.

Under the leadership of Gregory Scholes, the William S. Tod Professor of Chemistry, the research center will seek to “employ light harvesting and advances in solar photochemistry to enable unprecedented photo-induced cross-coupling reactions that valorize abundant molecules.” The center aims to revolutionize chemist’s ability to make new molecules, fuels, and materials by using the collective energy of two packets (quanta) light to break and make strong chemical bonds. A new range of chemical building blocks will be picked apart, aided by the sun’s energy, and crafted into new structures with valuable functions.

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