Jonas Olofsson. Photo: Markus Marcetic/The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation/The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
Abraham Mendoza. Photo: Markus Marcetic/The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation/The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Twentieth century developments in chemical synthesis have been necessary for our modern world; they have been fundamental to the manufacture of effective pharmaceuticals, material for roads and illuminated molecules for mobile displays, to name a few things. The benefits for mankind are reflected in how 58 of 108 Nobel Prizes in Chemistry have been awarded to discoveries related to the development of new synthesis methods. 

However, one problem in chemical synthesis is that reactions are often based upon toxic solvents and expensive metals. Some substances also require synthesis to be carried out in many steps, which increases waste and is expensive. Dr. Abraham Mendoza from Stockholm University is therefore working on the development of more effective and environmentally friendly tools for chemists. Using light energy and cheap elements such as aluminumaluminium, lithium and iron, he wakes chemical molecules to life and facilitates chemical reactions. He will also develop chemical catalysts that can enable the re-use of waste from the petrochemical industry.

“We are working on methods to make chemicals more efficiently and faster using reagents that every lab has. But we make them behave differently using the type of LED stripes that you can have in your home”, Abraham Mendoza says.

The reactions that Abraham Mendoza is rationalizing are foundational for chemists and may thus contribute to more sustainable chemistry in many different industries.

“I’m delighted. Being a Wallenberg Academy Fellow  will provide me and my research group with the stability needed to tackle the most ambitious goals”, he says.

More about Abraham Mendoza's research.