Inorganic Chemistry with a Twist!

Our main areas of research are synthetic chemistry and homogeneous catalysis. We synthesize a wide range of organometallic, metal-boron, organo-boron and organic compounds, all of which are designed to exhibit interesting properties such as luminescence, nonlinear optical effects, and two-photon excited fluorescence, or triggering the differentiation of stem cells into nerve cells. We develop new catalysts and catalytic processes, and also apply them to the synthesis of, for example, conjugated materials. We are also interested in controlling intermolecular interactions in conjugated systems in both crystal and liquid crystal phases.


News and events:


Just published: Recent Developments in and Perspectives on Three-Coordinate Boron Materials: A Bright Future

Recent Developments in and Perspectives on Three-Coordinate Boron Materials: A Bright Future — Chemical Science

Authors: Dr. Lei Ji, Stefanie Griesbeck, Prof. Dr. Todd B. Marder

Abstract: The empy pz-orbital of a three-coordinate organoboron compound leads to its electron-deficient properties, which make it an excellent π-acceptor in conjugated organic chromophores. The empty p-orbital in such Lewis acids can be attacked by nucleophiles, so bulky groups are often employed to provide air-stable materials. However, many of these can still bind fluoride and cyanide anions leading to applications as anion-selective sensors. One electron reduction generates radical anions. The π-acceptor strength can be easily tuned by varying the organic substituents. Many of these compounds show strong two-photon absorption (TPA) and two-photon excited fluorescence (TPEF) behavior, which can be applied for e.g. biological imaging. Furthermore, these chromophores can be used as emitters and electron transporters in OLEDs, and examples have recently been found to exhibit efficient thermally activated delayed fluorescence (TADF). The three-coordinate organoboron unit can also be incorporated into polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Such boron-doped compounds exhibit very interesting properties, distinct from their all-carbon analogues. Significant developments have been made in all of these areas in recent years and new applications are rapidly emerging for this class of boron compounds.



Just Published: Boron-Containing Molecules for Imaging of Mitochondria in Cells

Water-Soluble Triarylborane Chromophores for One- and Two-Photon Excited Fluorescence Imaging of Mitochondria in Cells — Chemistry - A European Journal

Authors: Stefanie Griesbeck, Dr. Zuolun Zhang, Marcus Gutmann, Dr. Tessa Lühmann, Dr. Robert M. Edkins, Guillaume Clermont, Dr. Adina N. Lazar, Dr. Martin Haehnel, Dr. Katharina Edkins, Antonius Eichhorn, Dr. Mireille Blanchard-Desce, Prof. Dr. Lorenz Meinel, Prof. Dr. Todd B. Marder

Abstract: Three water-soluble tetracationic quadrupolar chromophores comprising two three-coordinate boron π-acceptor groups bridged by thiophene-containing moieties were synthesised for biological imaging applications. Compound 3 containing the bulkier 5-(3,5-Me2C6H2)-2,2′-(C4H2S)2-5′-(3,5-Me2C6H2) bridge is stable over a long period of time, exhibits a high fluorescence quantum yield and strong one- and two-photon absorption (TPA), and has a TPA cross section of 268 GM at 800 nm in water. Confocal laser scanning fluorescence microscopy studies in live cells indicated localisation of the chromophore at the mitochondria; moreover, cytotoxicity measurements proved biocompatibility. Thus, chromophore 3 has excellent potential for one- and two-photon-excited fluorescence imaging of mitochondrial function in cells.



Poster prize for Stefanie Griesbeck

We are very happy to note that Ms. Stefanie Griesbeck from our group won the poster prize at the IC3EM 2016 Conference, the 2nd International Caparica Conference on Chromeogenic and Emissive Materials held in Lisbon, 5th - 8th September 2016.

Her poster was entitled, "Water-Soluble 3-Coordinate Boron Chromophores for One- and Two-Photon Excited Fluorescence Imaging of Mitochondria in Live Cells". Stefanie also gave a shotgun presentation on this as did another student from the Marder group, namely Ms. Carolin Sieck, whose talk and poster were on "The Light at the End of the Cycle: Reductive Coupling of Diynes at Rhodium Gives Fluorescent Rhodacyclopentadienes or Phosphorescent Dibenzorhodacyclopentadienes."


Todd Marder gave a Keynote lecture at the conference on "Synthesis, Linear and Nonlinear Optical Properties and Applications of New 3-Coordinate Organoboron Compounds."


Dr. Sabrina Würtemberger-Pietsch finished her PhD-Thesis

Congratulations on completion of the research, which was carried out jointly in the Marder and Radius groups.


New research institute for boron chemistry

A planned research building hits the home stretch: The science council has approved the construction of a new chemistry institute for the University of Würzburg to be built on the Hubland campus.

On 15th April 2016, the German Science Council has given support for two research building projects at Bavarian Universities, namely a  research building for astro-particle physics at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and for an “Institute of Sustainable Chemistry and Catalysis with Boron as a Key Element” (ICB) of the Julius-Maximilians-University of Würzburg. The German Science Council has communicated this via a press release.

In the ICB, Würzburg Professors Holger Braunschweig and Todd Marder plan to establish an internationally leading Center of Excellence focusing on the chemistry of the element boron and its usage to find solutions to the challenges of energy and resource conservation.

Boron is becoming increasingly important for synthetic chemistry and materials sciences because of its unique characteristics. In organic synthesis, it is nearly universally applicable, for example, in the formation of new bonds between carbon and a wide variety of elements and groups. Moreover, boronate ester compounds are becoming more important for large chemical processes and the synthesis of fine chemicals for pharmaceutical, agrochemical,  and materials applications.


Facts about the new institute building

The new institute will be built at the chemistry center on the Hubland campus next to the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, where the research groups of Braunschweig and Marder are located.

The building will have an effective area of approximately 1,400 square meters on four floors, with a total cost estimated to be 19.4 million euros. Construction is expected to begin in 2017, with completion in 2021.


GWK makes final decision

Joint Science Conference (GWK) of federal and state governments makes the final decision on the new building based on the recommendations of the German Science Council. The funding of this new research building will be shared between the Free State of Bavaria and the federal government of Germany.


About the German Science Council

The German Science Council advises the federal government and the governments of the states in questions of content and structural development of universities, science and research. Visit the website of the German Science Council for more information:


Chemists from all of the world will be guests

International networking and cooperation: This is a matter close to Professor Todd Marder's heart since the year dot. So it's not surprising that a symposium for his 60th birthday will lure chemists from 14 countries on five continents to the University of Wuerzburg.

“Advances in Organic and Inorganic Chemistry– Enhancing International Cooperation”: This is the title of an international symposium on Monday, 16th November 2015, at the University of Wuerzburg. The Institute of Inorganic Chemistry is organizing this for the occasion of the 60th birthday and the 30th anniversary of the academic career of Professor Todd Marder, holder of the Chair of Inorganic Chemistry.  

All speakers and poster presenters who have been invited are current or former students, doctoral researchers and research collaborators of Todd Marder from science and industry. They are from 14 countries on five continents. This shows that the chemistry professor always paid attention to creating international research teams and worldwide networking.

Experts talking about different topics

The symposium will therefore showcase the inter-disciplinarity and internationality of Marder's research. Representative of this are the following four speakers:

  • Dr. Edward G. Robins from Singapur will present new possibilities of producing radioactive marked substances for the medical imaging with Positron Emission Tomography by way of metal-organic chemistry.
  • Professor Seth R. Marder from Atlanta (USA), expert in organic materials, will give a lecture on progresses and challenges in the functionalization of carbon-hydrogen-compounds for applications in materials science.
  • Professor Paul J. Low is from Perth (Australia). In his talk he will concern himself with new aspects on chemistry and spectroscopy of chemical complex molecules with mixed valences.
  • How can adaptive nanostructures for multitasking in nanomedicine be designed? Professor Ashok K. Kakkar from Montréal (Canada) will speak about this topic.

All talks of the symposium are open to the public. They will take place on Monday 16th November 2015, from 08:30 until 20:00 in lecture hall A in the central building of Chemistry at Hubland.

If you wish to participate, you will need to register via the website of the symposium. You can also find the complete symposium program there:


Boroles get a stability boost

Scientists from Germany have reported a breakthrough in borole stability, using bulky fluoromesityl groups, which could help these anti-aromatic molecules realise their potential in optoelectronic devices.1

Boroles are heterocycles with a 4π-electron BC4 ring and subsequent electron-accepting abilities. This makes them great candidates for electron-transporting and accepting materials in organic light-emitting diodes and photovoltaics.

read more


Further award for Todd B. Marder

Todd B. Marder, Chair of the Department of Inorganic Chemistry of the University of Wuerzburg, has been issued with the “Organometallic Chemistry Award 2015” by the Royal Society of Chemistry. The society honours him for his work in the field of organometallic chemistry.

The originality, importance and quality of work – measured by the number of publications and citations: These criteria are the basis of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s choice of their award winners. Teamwork across the different branches of chemistry and the endeavours to initiate successful collaborations are also recognised.

Professor Todd B. Marder has distinguished himself in all these areas, according to the statement of the society. They have therefore awarded him the Organometallic Chemistry Award 2015. The award is renumerated with 2000 Pounds – approximately 2700 Euros. Marder has been Chair of the Department of Inorganic Chemistry at the Julius-Maximilians-University Wuerzburg since 2012.

Research Area of Todd B. Marder

Todd B. Marder is famous for his internationally-leading pioneering work in organometallic chemistry. Additionally, basic studies on synthesis, structure and chemical bonds as well as the photophysical properties of organometallic connections, as well as their usage in the homogeneous catalysts and in the material sciences. Worthy of particular mention are his groundbreaking works on transitional metal-boryl-complexes and their usage in the metal-mediated borylation.

“Our award winners are rated as the best in their respective subjects. They can be proud to stand in line with some of the most influential and important researchers of the world”, explained Dr. Robert Parker, Chair of the Royal Society of Chemistry at the announcement of the new award winners. “In a complex and constantly changing world, the insights of chemistry are indispensable for finding answers to the biggest challenges of humanity.” The award winners stand on the front line when we face such challenges.

Personal details: Todd B. Marder

Todd B. Marder studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and at the University of California at L.A. (UCLA), and he completed postdoctoral positions at the University of Bristol (UK) and at the DuPont Research Centre in Wilmington, USA. After professorships at the Canadian University of Waterloo and the University of Durham (UK), he was appointed to his current position in Wuerzburg.

More than 275 entries can be found in the list of Marder’s publications. His works have been cited about 14,000 times to date. Furthermore the chemist is readily invited to speak at conferences, in universities and in industrial research institutions. He was recently appointed as a member of the Bavarian Academy of Research.

Thanks to mentor and staff

In his first reaction to the announcement, Todd B. Marder thanked his very first supervisor, Professor Alan Davison – a patient and inspiring mentor who gave him the first understanding of the field of organometallic chemistry. Furthermore Marder thanked “all of my students, postdocs and colleagues”. Their long-lasting efforts made the award possible.

The Royal Society of Chemistry

The Royal Society of Chemistry has a 170 year continuous history. With more than 53,000 members it represents a global network by “bringing together chemical scientists from all over the world” and is “the UK’s professional body for chemical scientists”.



Prof. Todd B. Marder, Department of Inorganic Chemistry, T: (0931) 16-85514,


Great honour for Prof. Dr. Todd B. Marder

Great honour for Prof. Dr. Todd B. Marder

Prof. Dr. Todd B. Marder has been elected as a full member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences.

Read more... (only in German available)


Events for our foreign staff at the University of Würzburg

The University of Würzburg offers organized excursions and sight-seeing visits. Follow the link for further informations:

Support for our foreign staff

From the online magazine "einBlick" of the University of Würzburg:

Shubhankar Kumar Bose has joined the University of Würzburg as a fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. At the Institute for Inorganic Chemistry (working group Marder), he conducts research on new ways to synthesize organic molecules.

read more (only in german):