Stable, Earth Abundant, Redox-Active, Homogenous Photocatalysts

Case ID:

This invention opens a new class of homogeneous photocatalysts. This invention overcomes current system limitations by creating a new class of carbenium-based compounds which are stable and redox active, comprise earth abundant and inexpensive materials, have a tunable design, and are easy to synthesize at moderate to high temperatures.  These compounds may also be used as highly fluorescent dyes with large extinction coefficient and long fluorescent lifetimes.

Heterogeneous photocatalysts are limited by system constraints, including inefficiencies in energy utilization, turnover, chemical species mass transport, and need for surface area for photon exposure. Homogenous and heterogenous catalysts may require rare and expensive materials. Use of toxic metals may necessitate expensive downstream separations to remove trace impurities.  Removing such limitations can reduce costs and enable new chemicals routes, including supporting applications in green chemistry and renewable energy.


  • Inexpensive homogenous catalysts without toxic or rare metals
  • Artificial photosynthesis for direct conversion of sunlight to chemicals
  • Fluorescent reagents or dyes
  • Novel organic molecule synthesis


  • Stable homogenous catalyst
  • Earth abundant molecular catalyst
  • Efficient light absorption
  • Tuneable via a variety of molecular designs
  • Use of low energy light (> 500nm)
Patent Information:
Contact For More Information:
Laura Silva
Sr. Licensing Manager, COS
The University of Arizona
Lead Inventor(s):
Thomas Gianetti