Molecular metal oxide clusters, so-called polyoxometalates (POM) have been extensively used as homogeneous photocatalysts in various photoredox reactions such as the oxidation of alkanes, alkenes and alcohols as well as the light-induced mineralisation of various organic and inorganic pollutants. The more general application of POMs as photoactive compounds, in particular in solar energy harnessing, has been hampered as the clusters typically absorb light in the UV-region only. Over the past decade, concepts have been put forward on how the reactivity of this class of compounds can be optimised to improve their overall photoactivity, and a particular focus has been on the design of photocatalytic processes which allow the conversion of solar light into useful chemical reactivity. This perspective gives a brief overview of general aspects of POM photochemistry and critically discusses the advantages and challenges of a range of POM-based systems for photooxidations and photoreductions with a focus on the development of sustainable solar light conversion systems.
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