AG Phosphorus Chemistry

Who we are - What we do

German Version

Phosphorus chemistry is closely linked to chemical research in Germany in many ways. The element was discovered in Hamburg in 1669 by Hennig Brand, a German pharmacist and alchemist who actually wanted to find the philosopher’s stone. The chemiluminescence that occurred during the discovery found its way into forensic chemistry as a test for phosphorus poisoning ("Mitscherlich test" by Eilhard Mitscherlich, 1794-1863) and thus established an important branch of the systematic investigation of criminal activities.

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Joseph Wright of Derby, The Alchemist Discovering Phosphorus

Phosphorus is also known for its variety of allotropes, of which the white, red, black and purple phosphorus have long been known. White phosphorus (P4) is the modification that represents the product of large-scale production. The high reactivity and the molecular structure of P4 are highly valued in research. Phosphorus-rich molecular compounds can be built up by functionalisation of P4. Various relationships exist between phosphorus and its heavy homologues: arsenic, antimony and bismuth. These heavier elements are becoming increasingly important in materials science and catalysis. Therefore, the working group also focuses on the chemistry of the heavy elements of group 15.
Phosphorus compounds are essential for all biological organisms. They are part of elementary biomolecules and, in the form of nucleotides, secondary messenger substances. Phosphorylations as post-translational modifications of proteins are responsible for basic cellular mechanisms. Phosphorus compounds are also central to medicinal chemistry. They are important building blocks in molecular probes in chemical biology and in modern pharmaceuticals. One example is the hepatitis C drug Sofosbovir, which is based on the development of a nucleotide analogue and thus a phosphorus(V) compound.
Inorganic and organic synthetic chemistry cannot be imagined without phosphorus compounds, be it in the Wittig reaction, the Staudinger reaction, the Michaelis-Arbusov reaction, the Mitsunobu reaction or the Horner-Wadsworth-Emmons reaction, as organocatalysts or as multifunctional and often chiral phosphine ligands in metal catalysts. Phosphorus is also an important element in solid-state chemistry and materials science, e.g. in light-emitting diodes and in steel. Phosphorene (a relative of graphene) is a new, interesting two-dimensional material that has gained increasing attention in recent years also among German phosphorus chemists. Last but not least, phosphorus compounds play an essential role in the chemical industry, e.g. as a desiccant (e.g. phosphorus(V) oxide), in flame retardants, additives, plasticisers and pesticides or as phosphate in fertilisers.

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source: Prof. Fabian Dielmann

For these reasons, the GDCh board has approved the establishment of a working group for phosphorus chemistry under the umbrella of the GDCh in December 2018. Further details can be found in the internal regulations of the working group.

zuletzt geändert am: 15.09.2020 10:14 Uhr von M.Fries