3. Toward Single-Molecule Catalysis

  1. Lutz H. Gade3 and
  2. Peter Hofmann4
  1. Arina Rybina1,
  2. Marcel Wirtz2,
  3. Dominik Brox1,
  4. Roland Krämer1,
  5. Gregor Jung2 and
  6. Dirk-Peter Herten1

Published Online: 6 JUN 2014

DOI: 10.1002/9783527673278.ch3

Molecular Catalysts : Structure and Functional Design

Molecular Catalysts : Structure and Functional Design

How to Cite

Rybina, A., Wirtz, M., Brox, D., Krämer, R., Jung, G. and Herten, D.-P. (2014) Toward Single-Molecule Catalysis, in Molecular Catalysts : Structure and Functional Design (eds L. H. Gade and P. Hofmann), Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim, Germany. doi: 10.1002/9783527673278.ch3

Editor Information

  1. 3

    Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, Heidelberg, Anorganisch-Chemisches, Institut (ACI), Im Neuenheimer Feld 270, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany

  2. 4

    Ruprecht-Karls-Universität, Heidelberg, Organisch-Chemisches Institut, (OCI), Im Neuenheimer Feld 270, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany

Author Information

  1. 1

    Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Physikalisch-Chemisches Institut (PCI), Im Neuenheimer Feld 229, 69120, Heidelberg, Germany

  2. 2

    Universität des Saarlandes, Biophysikalische Chemie, Campus B2 2, Postfach 15 11 50, 66041, Saarbrücken, Germany

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 6 JUN 2014
  2. Published Print: 23 JUL 2014

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9783527335213

Online ISBN: 9783527673278



  • single-molecule fluorescence;
  • Cu(II)-chelators;
  • superresolution microscopy;
  • oxidation;
  • peroxidation;
  • ester hydrolysis


Individual molecular catalysts in a pseudohomogeneous microenvironment have been directly explored by single-molecule observations. In this Chapter, we focus in this chapter on our proof-of-concept studies using immobilized metal-based catalysts and single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy. Application of photostable fluorophores that signal chemical processes at the metal complex or substrate site is mandatory. Major outcomes of our research are as follows: 1. observation of the reversible formation of a single Cu(II) complex that opened a chemical approach to superresolution microscopy; 2. the irreversible epoxidation of a double–bond, exemplified by the landmark change of the emission color; 3. evidence for catalytic redox cycles of individual Cu(I/II) complexes.