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Chemical Reactions Controlled With New 'Excited State Proton Transfer Catalysis'

First Posted: Feb 03, 2016 02:31 PM EST

With the use of a new "excited state proton transfer catalysis," scientists would be able to observe and even start or stop some of the most basic chemical reactions. In the latest study, researchers from Florida State University have developed this new technique that uses light to control reactions.

"We can turn on or off the reaction with a light switch. The reaction can even be performed by simply putting the reaction mixture in sunlight, the greenest of all alternative energy sources," Ken Hanson, coauthor of the study, said in a news release.

The reaction depends on certain non-acidic molecules, which becomes acidic after they absorb light. They interaction with the light causes them to become more 10 billion times more acidic than they are without the light. This change is greater than the difference between water and hydrochloric acid, according to the researchers.

"These results open the door to an entirely new class of light-driven chemical reactions that are low cost, nontoxic and can be driven by sunlight," Hanson said.

This researchers study paves the way for new developments and applications such as photodynamic therapy, drug synthesis and light-driven 3-D printing.

The findings of this study were published in the journal Chemical Communications.

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