Department of Chemistry
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Universität Bielefeld > Department of Chemistry
The members of the Faculty of Chemistry deeply mourn the loss of Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Knoche, who died on May, 2nd 2018, after a short severe illness.
Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Knoche
Universitätsarchiv/Klaus Halbe
Wilhelm Knoche was professor in the field of physical chemistry from 01.10.1981 until 28.02.2003 at Bielefeld University. His research focused on thermodynamics and kinetics of fast chemical reactions. He was co-author of one of the most important books on this area of research (Strehlow, Knoche: Fundamentals of Chemical Relaxation). Many instrumental developments for the investigation of fast reactions result from Wilhelm Knoches research group in Bielefeld.
Wilhelm Knoche was one of the co-initiators of the discussion group "Fast Reactions in Solution" (FRIS) and was internationally well-known and valued in this scientific domain. In addition he also made a key contribution to the internationalization for the Faculty of Chemistry and he has initiated a lively exchange with the universities of Santiago de Compostela, Salamanca, Burgos and others in Europe.
In Wilhelm Knoches research group more than 35 PhD students earned their doctoral degree.
He hosted a lot of foreign graduate students and additionally also several successful post docs were supervised by him.
Wilhelm Knoche was passionate about academic teaching. He was enthusiastic and extremely active. Often one would find him in his office in conversations with students, sharing his broad expertise and experience. He saw it as his duty to guarantee the best professional teaching standards including mathematical aspects regarding physical chemistry. He set a great value on precise mathematical derivations in thermodynamics and kinetics.
Wilhelm Knoche will be remembered not only as a professor and scientist but also for his charisma, personality and collegiality. Even after his active career Wilhelm Knoche was closely related to Bielefeld University. With his passing we have lost an appreciated colleague and teacher.

Research profile of the Faculty of Chemistry

  1. Molecule-based Materials
    Aziz-Lange, Ghadwal, Glaser, Godt, Hellweg, Hoge, Kohse-Höinghaus, Kühnle, Mitzel
  2. Life Science Chemistry
    Dierks, Fischer v. Mollard, Gröger, Hellweg, Kottke, Lübke, Niemann, Sewald
  3. Gas Phase- und Atmospheric Chemistry
    Brockhinke, Eisfeld, Kohse-Höinghaus, Koop, Manthe, Mitzel
  4. Public Understanding of Science
    Dunker, Kohse-Höinghaus, Lück, Mitzel

Important subjects in the research area Molecule-based Materials are molecular magnets, biomimetic catalysts, cytostatic compounds, fluorinated compounds, organometallic compounds, silanes, spin probes an models for EPR-spectroscopy, microgels and microemulsions.

Protein crystallography is used and sulfatases, lysosomal hydrolases and membrane transport are studied in the research area Life Science Chemistry. An additional focus are bioorganic and biocatalytic topics in organic chemistry groups, which are also investigated by biochemistry groups within the Faculty of Chemistry.

Research topics in Gas Phase- und Atmospheric Chemistry are combustion, atmospheric aerosols and ice nucleation. The core facility „gas-electron diffraction and structure analysis of small molecules“ (GED@BI, N. Mitzel) is funded by the DFG and is unique within the EU.

The research area Public Understanding of Science focuses on research concerning instructions in chemistry during early childhood.

The Faculty of Chemistry is characterized by interdisciplinary research, which is typical for Bielefeld University. Researchers in the research area Molecule-based Materials cooperate with the department of Physics.

The research area Life Science Chemistry is strengthened by cooperation with the Faculty of Biology, the Faculty of Technology and the CeBiTec.
The „Center for Molecular Materials“ CM2 is an academic department with groups from chemistry and physics (coordinator B.Hoge), which aims at connections between technical know-how of industrial partners and basic research at the university.
In addition, each group is involved in national and international research cooperations.

Current work from our research groups 

Three-Fold Scholl-Type Cycloheptatriene Ring Formation around a Tribenzotriquinacene Core: Toward Warped Graphenes
An unprecedented 3-fold Scholl-type cycloheptatriene ring formation around a tribenzotriquinacene core is realized, producing a polyaromatic arene with a wizard hat-shaped structure. The presence of three 3,4-dimethoxyphenyl rings at the C-1, C-4 and C-8 positions of the tribenzotriquinacene skeleton is crucial to the success of this transformation.
H.-W. Ip, C.-F. Ng, H.-F. Chow and D. Kuck, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, 138, 13778–13781. [DOI: 10.1021/jacs.6b05820]

Photoswitchable DNA-Intercalators
Scientists from Bielefeld and Siegen University have developed a photochromic compound whose activity to intercalate into dsDNA (double-straind DNA) can be controlled by light. Intercalators and especially switchable ones are of high interest for controlling biochemical recognition processes. Potential applications are tremendous and research activity is strongly increasing in many laboratories around the world.
Beside a recognition part the key of these compounds consists of a photochromic unit (photoswitch) whose structure and electronic behaviour can be reversibly changed by light exposure. In this joint contribution an N-methylphenanthrolinium-annelated spirooxazine derivative was prepared. Upon irradiation at 350 nm the spirooxazine (SO) is transformed to the corresponding photomerocyanine (PM) that binds to DNA. After irradiation with visible light the spirooxazine, which exhibits no significant DNA-binding properties, is regained. The association of the active form of this photoswitch with DNA was examined by CD and absorption spectroscopy, fluorescent intercalator displacement and viscometric titration.

This discovery was published by the Royal Society of Chemistry:
H, Ihmels, J. Mattay, F. May, and L. Thomas, Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, 2013, 11, 5184–5188. [10.1039/C3OB40930A]

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