Vibrational strong coupling (VSC) has recently been shown to change the rate and chemoselectivity of ground state chemical reactions via the formation of light‐matter hybrid polaritonic states.Our recent observation that vibrational mode symmetry has a large influence on charge transfer reactions under VSC suggested that symmetry considerations could be used to control other types of chemical selectivity. We thus explored the stereoselectivity of the thermal electrocyclic ring‐opening of a cyclobutene derivative, a reaction which follows the Woodward‐Hoffmann rules, under VSC. The direction of the change in stereoselectivity depends on the vibrational mode that is coupled, as do changes in rate and reaction thermodynamics. All this is summarized in a new publication, resulting from a collaboration with Joseph Moran‘s group, that just appeared in Angewandte Chemie in Open Access, but also in our publication page.
Since a week, we have the pleasure to welcome our first brazilian lab member, Luis Pires. Luis is a physicist by education, now specialist of optical tweezers and colloidal interactions. He received his master and PhD from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and did a six month internship at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, USA. Welcome to him !
A week ago, it was the last day in the lab of our friend and colleague Anoop Thomas, who spent more than 5 years among us. We will all miss his good mood and curiosity, his knowledge in chemistry, his assistance and availability for the younger students and more generally, for all people in the group… but we are very happy for him that he was offered a great position of assistant professor at the Department of Inorganic and Physical Chemistry, at Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore. We wish him and his family all the best for the future and will keep in touch !