Jana Roithová receives the Ignaz L. Lieben Award 2014 for her outstanding research in the area of physical-organic ion chemistry, combining mass spectrometry, infrared multiphoton dissociation using free-electron lasers, and rare gas tagging methods on cold ions with density functional theory to elucidate reaction mechanisms. Her research is instrumental for improving the understanding of a variety of chemical systems, including organometallic catalysis.
Her research is driven by a desire to understand the principles of chemical reactivity. Although many reactions are tentatively understood, the identity and the role of their reactive intermediates is unclear. Jana Roithová uses mass spectrometry to unravel these details. She develops new techniques to follow the reactivity of intermediates and studies the elemental reaction steps. She uses spectroscopy of mass-selected, isolated reactive species to uncover their structural characteristics. Next to standard experiments using free-electron lasers, she has also developed a laboratory-scale cryogenic instrument, where the highly reactive ions can be trapped and investigated. Her recent results include inter alia spectroscopic evidence that the hexagonal benzene molecule changes its structure upon removal of two electrons to form a pentagonal pyramid (DOI: 10.1021/ja412109h) and the characterization of various aurated and diaurated intermediates in homogenous gold catalysis (e.g. DOI: 10.1021/ja505945d). The general aim of her research is to contribute new tools to mass spectrometry and ion spectroscopy and to establish them as powerful tools in mechanistic organic and organometallic chemistry.
Jana Roithová hat Organische Chemie und Physikalische Chemie an der Karls-Universität sowie am Institute of Chemical Technology in Prag studiert. Von 2003 bis 2005 war sie Post-doc-Stipendiatin in der Forschungsgruppe von Prof. Helmut Schwarz an der TU Berlin. Seit 2014 ist sie Full Professor und Leiterin des Departments of Organic Chemistry der Karls-Universität. Jana Roithová ist Gewinnerin mehrerer renommierter Wissenschaftspreise, u.a. hat sie 2011 einen ERC Starting Grant erhalten.