Most of what we know about organic chemistry is derived from reactions is derived from studies in dilute solutions. In contrast, about 80% of all reactions happening in biological chemistry take place at a surface (ranging from flexible cell membrane to hard mineral). The easiest presumption is to assume that that does not matter. This often works, but often also fails, and without detailed insight, it does not become clear when and why. Our research program in this field aims to understand the details of surface-bound organic reactions. As examples of the work in this field, we have studied a range of known click reactions at surfaces (), and – when needed – also developed fully novel click reactions to investigate specific concepts. This has lead to the finding of significant discrepancies between solution-phase reactions and surface-bound reactions ().
Many of these findings required the use and development of advanced surface-bound analytical chemistry, an area in which we also further drive the field, both in terms of fundamental science (; paper with Teplyakov) and for very practical issues, such as the risk of third-hand smoking (Talanta 2020).