Wilhelm-Ostwald-Institute for Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

Physical Chemistry in Leipzig and beyond is strongly connected with the name Wilhelm Ostwald. Together with Swante Arrhenius, Jacobus Henricus van’t Hoff and Walter Nernst he founded the field of Physical Chemistry. Since 1871 the Chair for Physical Chemistry existed in Leipzig – it was the first Chair for Physical Chemistry in Leipzig. Ostwald was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1909 for his groundbreaking work on reaction equilibria and –rates and its applications for catalysis. Currently research at the Wilhelm-Ostwald-Institute is connected to the faculty’s strategic fields materials, catalysis and energy.


Noble Gases not so noble?
Scientists of the Wilhelm-Ostwald-Institute for Physical and Theoretical Chemistry of the University Leipzig have successfully bound the noble gases Krypton and Xenon to a electron-rich molecule in a gas-phase reaction, which contradicts chemical intuition. In cooperation with scientists from the US-based Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the Universities of Bremen and Wuppertal, molecular reasons for this remarkable behaviour were found, using spectroscopical and quantum chemical methods. The results are presented in the title story of the latest edition of the high-impact journal 'Angewandte Chemie, International Edition'.
Press Statement (German)
Warnecke et al., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2017, 56, 7980 (English Version)
Warnecke et al., Angew. Chem. 2017, 129, 8090 (German Version)
Link to AK Asmis web sites

In cooperation with SCM NV, Amsterdam, scientists of the research group of Professor T. Heine report, that based on first-principles calculations, 1S-NbX2 with sulfur, selenium and tellurium as chalkogenide component behave different than all other known dichalkogenides with group 5 metals: these materials aren't paramagnetic indirect semiconductors, but nevertheless they have a NbIV species, they are diamagnetic direct semiconductors. They also show high carrier mobility, so they are promising materials for electronic and optoelectronic applications. First results also show, that isoelectronic 1S-TaS2 has the same properties
Y. Ma et al., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., DOI: 10.1002/anie.201702450
Press Statement (German)

Dr. Yu Jing - Picture: Swen Reichhold/University Leipzig

Dr. Yu Jing, young scientist in the group of Professor Thomas Heine, received the Marie-Sklodovska-Curie grant of the European Union. For two years, her research about covalent organic frameworks (COF) is supported. These compounds could be used as catalysts for the production of hydrogen from water using sunlight. Aim of her research is to find suitable COFs and to optimise these.
Press Statement

Production of pure deuterium and removal of tritium from nuclear waste are the key challenges in separation of light isotopes. Present methods are extremely cost- and energy-intensive. An international scientist team presents a novel metal organic framework with a Cu(I) active site. This new material can separate D2 and T2 from an hydrogen gas mixture effectively. Selectivity for the separation of D2 is uniquely high.
I. Weinrauch et al., Nat. Commun. 8 (2017), 14496
Press Statement (German)

Scientists of the Wilhelm-Ostwald-Institute for Physical and Theoretical Chemistry created a molecular ball-bearing and are the first to also give spectroscopical evidence for its agility.
Scientific Paper
German Version of Scientific Paper
Press Statement (German)
Interview with Radio Mephisto 97.6

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last modified: 27.06.2017

Mailing Address

Wilhelm-Ostwald-Institute for Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
Linnéstr. 2
D-04103 Leipzig

Managing Director

Prof. Dr. Knut R. Asmis



Wilhelm-Ostwald-Institut for Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
Sekretary Office
K. Schleinitz
Linnestrasse 2
D-04103 Leipzig

Phone: 0341 97-36500
Fax: 0341 97-36399

Web Master
Dr. Matthias Kudra