The Cutsail group employs inorganic spectroscopic techniques to elucidate structural and electronic information for (bio)inorganic systems. We primarily utilize Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR) spectroscopy and advanced techniques such as Electron Nuclear Double Resonance (ENDOR) and Electron Spin Echo Envelope Modulation (ESEEM) spectroscopies. Selected systems are also studied by various X-ray absorption and emission spectroscopy.
Highly qualified and motivated scientists at all levels (Bachelors students to postdocs) who are interested in learning spectroscopy are always welcome to contact George Cutsail (george.cutsail(at)cec.mpg.de) about possible research opportunities.
The Cutsail research program aims to understand both the formation and cleavage of the O-O bond of dioxygen O2 by monocopper centers from two directions. We study both the cleavage of O-O bonds by monocopper monooxygenase proteins to form a powerful copper-oxygen oxidant intermediate. The electrochemical oxidation of water using nitrogen coordinated monocopper catalysts yields O2, affording a unique system to study the formation of O-O bonds facilitated by copper.
Techniques such as ENDOR and ESEEM allow for detailed insight into the copper center’s electronic structure. From these techniques, structures may be determined of coordinating ligands along with their covalency. Isotopic labelling (2H, 13C, 15N, 17O, etc.) further aids the selectivity of these studies. Furthermore, reaction mechanism can be studied by the rapid-freeze quenching of intermediates.
Approaching the chemistry of dioxygen and copper from these two directions allows for commonly proposed intermediates in each system to be independently characterized. The synergy between these two large projects help inform and further the spectroscopic characterization of copper-oxygen chemistry.