Prof Vladimir Azov
Department Chemistry
Internal Box 48
Chemistry Building 4

Short CV

I graduated from the Higher Chemical College of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, Russia with a MSc degree in Chemistry. I obtained PhD degree in Organic Chemistry from Emory University, Atlanta, USA in 2001. After two postdoctoral fellowships at ETH Zürich, Switzerland and at Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, Germany, I moved to the University of Bremen in Germany, where I completed my Habilitation (highest academic degree in Germany) in 2011 and served as a “Privatdozent” (eq. to Senior Lecturer) for several years. In 2016-2017, I was a visiting professor at the Zelinsky Institute of Organic Chemistry in Moscow. I joined the faculty of the University of the Free State as a Professor of Organic Chemistry at the beginning of 2018.

My research interests cover broad area of supramolecular chemistry, molecular self-organization, and redox- and light-controllable molecular receptors, devices and materials. I also contribute to several collaborative projects aimed at the study of weak interactions in molecular crystals, investigation of complex formation and gas phase reactivity using methods of mass spectrometry, and development of stereoselective heterogenious catalysts.

ORCID ID:ORCID iD icon0000-0002-2340-2198


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For the full publication list see my CV.


Publications (Short List)

A selection of papers from different areas of my research interests:


  • V. A. Azov, K. S. Egorova, M. M. Seitkalieva, A. S. Kashin, V. P. Ananikov, “Solvent-in-salt” systems for design of new materials in chemistry, biology and energy research” Chem. Soc. Rev. 2018, 47, 1250-1284. (DOI: 10.1039/C7CS00547D)
  • M. Rohdenburg, M. Mayer, M. Grellmann, C. Jenne, T. Borrmann, F. Kleemiss, V. A. Azov, K. R. Asmis, S. Grabowsky, J. Warneke, “Superelectrophilic Behavior of an Anion Demonstrated by Spontaneous Binding of [B12Cl11]- with Noble Gases”, Angew. Chem, Int. Ed. 2017, 56, 7980–7985, and cover page 7681. (DOI: 10.1002/anie.201702237)
  • I. Schrader, S. Neumann, A. Šulce, F. Schmidt, V. A. Azov, S. Kunz, “Asymmetric Heterogeneous Catalysis – Transfer of Molecular Principles to Nanoparticles by Ligand Functionalization”, ACS Catal. 2017, 7, 3979–3987. (DOI: 10.1021/acscatal.7b00422)
  • V. A. Azov, “Recent advances in molecular recognition with tetrathiafulvalene-based receptors”, Tetrahedron Lett. 2016, 57, 5416–5425; invited review. (DOI: 10.1016/j.tetlet.2016.10.082)
  • J. Warneke, C. Jenne, J. Bernarding, V. A. Azov, M. Plaumann, “Evidence for an intrinsic binding force between dodecaborate dianions and receptors with hydrophobic binding pockets”, Chem. Commun. 2016, 52, 6300–6303. (DOI: 10.1039/C6CC01233G)
  • K. R. Korsching, H. Schäfer, J. Schönborn, A. Nimthong-Roldán, M. Zeller, V. A. Azov, “Substituent effects on monopyrrolo-tetrathiafulvalenes in calixaren-based molecular receptors“, RSC Advances 2015, 5, 82699–82703. (DOI: 10.1039/C5RA19012F)
  • C. M. L. Vande Velde, M. Zeller, V. A. Azov, “Thermodynamic parameters of the pedal motion in the crystal structures of two bromomethylated azobenzenes”, CrystEngComm. 2015, 17, 5751–5756. (DOI: 10.1039/C5CE00905G)
  • V. A. Azov, D. Janott, D. Schlüter, M. Zeller, “Tuning of tetrathiafulvalene properties: versatile synthesis of N-arylated monopyrrolo-tetrathiafulvalenes via Ullmann-type coupling reactions“, Beilstein J. Org. Chem. 2015, 11, 860–868. (DOI: 10.3762/bjoc.11.96)

  • U. Kauscher, K. Bartels, I. Schrader, V. A. Azov, B. J. Ravoo, “Metastable oxidation states of tetrathiafulvalenes on the surface of liposomes”, J Mater Chem. B 2015, 3, 475-480. (DOI: 10.1039/C4TB01627K)
  • V. A. Azov, J. Cordes, D. Schlüter, T. Dülcks, M. Böckmann, N. L. Doltsinis, “Light-controlled macrocyclization of tetrathiafulvalene with azobenzene: designing an opto-electronic molecular switch” J. Org. Chem. 2014, 79, 11714-11721. (DOI: 10.1021/jo502469z)
  • J. Warneke, Z. Wang, M. Zeller, D. Leibfritz, M. Plaumann, V. A. Azov, "Methacryloyl chloride dimers: from structure elucidation to a manifold of chemical transformations" Tetrahedron 2014, 70, 6515–6521. (DOI: 10.1016/j.tet.2014.07.019)
  • M.-L. L. Watat, T. Dülcks, D. Kemken, V. A. Azov, “Tripodal Pyrrolotetrathiafulvalene Receptors for Recognition of Electron-Deficient Molecular Guests” Tetrahedron Lett. 2014, 55, 741–744. (DOI: 10.1016/j.tetlet.2013.12.011)
  • M. H. Düker, H. Schäfer, M. Zeller, V. A. Azov, “Rationally Designed Calix[4]arene-Pyrrolotetrathiafulvalene Receptors for Electron-Deficient Neutral Guests” J. Org. Chem. 2013, 78, 4905–4912. (DOI: 10.1021/jo400502t)
  • V. A. Azov, F. Diederich, “Switching Processess in Cavitands, Containers, and Capsules”  Molecular Switches, 2nd Edition; B. L. Feringa, W. R. Browne, eds.; Wiley-VCH, Weinheim, 2011. (DOI: 10.1002/9783527634408.ch8)
  • G. Gamez, L. Zhu, A. Disko, H. Chen, V. Azov, K. Chingin, G. Krämer, R. Zenobi, “Real-time, in vivo monitoring and pharmacokinetics of valproic acid via a novel biomarker in exhaled breath” Chem. Commun. 2011, 47, 4884–4886. (DOI: 10.1039/c1cc10343a)
  • M. Skibinski, R. Gómez, E. Lork, V. A. Azov, “Redox responsive molecular tweezers with tetrathiafulvalene units: synthesis, electrochemistry, and binding properties” Tetrahedron 2009, 65, 10348–10354. (DOI: 10.1016/j.tet.2009.10.052)
  • V. A. Azov, R. Gómez, J. Stelten, “Synthesis of electrochemically responsive TTF-based molecular tweezers: evidence of tight intramolecular TTF pairing in solution” Tetrahedron 2008, 64, 1909–1917. (DOI: 10.1016/j.tet.2007.11.110)
  • M. Hammond, A. Manetto, J. Gierlich, V. A. Azov, P. M. E. Gramlich, G. A. Burley, M. Maul, T. Carell, “DNA Photography: An Ultrasensitive DNA-Detection Method Based on Photographic Techniques” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2007, 46, 4184–4187. (DOI: 10.1002/anie.200605023)
  • V. A. Azov, A. Beeby, M. Cacciarini, A. G. Cheetham, F. Diederich, M. Frei, J. K. Gimzewski, V. Gramlich, B. Hecht, B. Jaun, T. Latychevskaya, A. Lieb, Y. Lill, F. Marotti, A. Schlegel, R. R. Schlittler, P. J. Skinner, P. Seiler, Y. Yamakoshi, “Resorcin[4]arene Cavitand-Based Molecular Switches” Adv. Funct. Mat. 2006, 16, 147–156. (DOI: 10.1002/adfm.200500181)
  • V. A. Azov, A. Schlegel, F. Diederich, “Geometrically Precisely Defined Multinanometer Extension/Contraction Motions in a Resorcin[4]arene Cavitand-Based Molecular Switch Observed by FRET” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2005, 44, 4635–4638. (DOI: 10.1002/anie.200500970)
  • M. Menger, V. A. Azov, “Synthesis and Properties Water-Soluble Asterisk Molecules” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2002, 124, 11159–11166. (DOI: 10.1021/ja0206238)
  • M. Menger, J. Bian, V. A. Azov, “A 1,3,5-Triaxial-Triamino-Cyclohexane: The Triamine Corresponding to Kemp’s Triacid” Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2002, 41, 2581–2584. (DOI: 10.1002/1521-3773(20020715)41:14<2581::AID-ANIE2581>3.0.CO;2-#)
  • M. Menger, V. A. Azov, “Cytomimetic Modeling in Which One Phospholipid Liposome Chemically Attacks Another” J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2000, 122, 6492–6493. (DOI: 10.1021/ja000504x)


Our research interests lie in the area of supramolecular chemistry and chemistry of materials and focus on synthesis of complex molecular architectures for investigation of processes of molecular recognition, molecular switching, and controllable self-assembly. Most of the structures we prepare and study comprise one or several tetrathiafulvalene (TTF) units, capable of reversible switching of electron-donating properties by oxidation/reduction.

One of the research directions is focused on the development of redox-active molecular receptors with two or more spatially aligned TTF groups comprising a molecular recognition center (a). In future, employing a modular assembly methodology and taking advantage of several building blocks, molecular receptors tailored for particular applications, e.g sensorics, will be constructed and investigated.

In another project we developed azobenzene-tetrathiafulvalene macrocycles that comprise two switching units: electrochemically-active tetrathiafulvalenes and photochemically-active azobenzenes (b). The oxidation potential of small, structurally rigid TTF-AB macrocycle depends on the conformation of the AB moiety, opening the way for the modulation of redox properties by an optical stimulus and design molecular devices with orthogonal write (optical) and read (electrical) modes.

In several collaborative projects we try to decipher weak intermolecular interactions holding organic crystals together, examine host- guest complexes of dodecaborate, large cosmotropic inorganic anions, in the gas phase by means of mass-spectrometry, and try to create stereoselective heterogenic catalysts by knowledge transfer from homogeneous catalysis, i.e. modification of catalytic nanoparticles by chiral organic ligands, e.g. amino acids and their derivatives.


Area(s) of Interest

Synthetic and supramolecular organic chemistry.  

Synthesis and characterization of redox- and light-controllable molecular receptors and molecular devices.

Molecular self-organization. 

Application of mass-spectrometry for the study of weak interactions in the gas phase.

Examination of intermolecular interactions in organic crystals.

Stereoselective heterogeneous catalysis by use of small molecule chiral modifiers on nanoparticles.

Ionic liquids as reaction media.


Courses Presented

CHEM 3743 (Organic Chemistry III for BSc level)

CHEM 6853 (Use of organometallic reagents in organic synthesis, for BSc Hons level)

CHEM 6863 (Concepts and applications of supramolecular chemistry, for BSc Hons level)

CHEM 6863 (Advanced OC practical labs, for BSc Hons level)

CHEM 6808 (BSc Hons research project)


Previous teaching experience (University of Bremen, Germany; 2007-2017)

Organic Chemistry I (basic course in Organic Chemistry, BSc level)

Methods and Strategy of Organic Synthesis (advanced course in Organic Chemistry, MSc level)

Supramolecular Chemistry (basic course, BSc level)

Advanced Supramolecular Chemistry and Chemistry of Materials (advanced course, MSc level)

Community Service

Service Learning


Elfrieda van den Berg (Marketing Manager)
T: +27 51 401 2531


Dilahlwane Mohono (Faculty Officer)
T: +27 58 718 5284

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