Glowing in the Dark: New Uses for Iron Molecules

By Annmarie Hoch

Scientists have used metal molecules as sources of fuel or energy before. However, the metals that have been previously used to power photocatalysts and solar cells have been rare, expensive,  and difficult to acquire. Examples of these metals include ruthenium and osmium. In Sweden, researchers have been working for the past five years to make a metal molecule that can perform these tasks but is easier to acquire. They have succeeded by adapting an iron molecule to suit their needs. Iron is a very common metal and much easier to acquire than the other metals used in this project. The molecule’s design maximizes its ability to hold and carry energy. The newly designed iron molecules have the potential to be used for processing solar fuels or for use in lights, as the iron molecule can glow for a significant period of time. The researchers were very surprised that the project only took five years to be successful, having expected to spend ten years on the iron molecule. This molecule could make it much easier to adapt metal molecules into the production of fuel and energy.


Lund University. (2018, November 30). Brilliant iron molecule could provide cheaper solar energy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 6, 2018 from