Indigoid chormophores are emerging photoswitches possessing many advantages compared to the most commonly used stilbenes, azobenzenes, or dithienylethenes. Despite this high potential they have been largely overlooked for applications e.g. in material sciences as well as supramolecular and biological chemistry. In the recent years, we have explored the interesting photophysical and -chemical properties of indigoid photoswitches in depth and developed a thorough mechanistic understanding of their light induced motions and behavior in the excited state. This brings us in the position to tailor unusual and useful property profiles by using strategic substitution approaches. We use this fundamental knowledge to build next generation molecular machines and responsive supramolecular systems with unprecedented properties. One main goal is to develop smart molecular entities, which can conveniently be implemented into more complex architectures to manipulate matter at the molecular scale with the highest possible precision. Key issues that we address are a complete control over the mechanics of molecular motions and the interactions between different molecular entities using nondestructive visible light.
Henry studied chemistry at the Philipps-University Marburg and the LMU Munich. After his diploma thesis with Paul Knochel he joined the group of François Diederich at the ETH Zurich for his Ph.D. There he worked on synthetic models for heme proteins. Henry then moved to The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla as a postdoctoral research fellow to pursue his interest in supramolecular self-assembly in the group of Julius Rebek, Jr. He started as an independent research group leader at the LMU Munich in 2011. Since April 2020 he is Chair of Organic Chemistry at the FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg. His current research interests are centered on organic and physical organic chemistry and span the areas of photochemistry, supramolecular chemistry, and molecular machines.
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