Welcome from the TG Group!


[Most of] The TG Group, in the TBSI Boardroom, September 2017.

The TG Supramolecular and Medicinal Chemistry Research Group is based in the School of Chemistry, Trinity College Dublin and is at the cutting edge of research into supramolecular structures, sensor design and materials development. The principal investigator is Professor Thorfinnur Gunnlaugsson.

The TG Group is housed in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI), as part of the School of Chemistry. The School is divided between several institutes on and near the main campus, such as the Chemistry Building, the Sami Nasr Institute of Advanced Materials (SNIAM), the Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices (CRANN) and TBSI (Map).

Make sure to follow our news and updates below:


Gunnlaugsson group presents their work at Inorganic Dublin Symposium

Dr. Oxana Kotova gave an oral presentation at Inorganic Dublin Symposium in CRANN at Trinity College Dublin on “Discrete white-light-emitting Ln-based heterometallic assemblies in solution” which has been published in Chemical Science.

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Hannah Dalton, June Lovitt, Bruno D’Agostino, Savyasachi A J, Dr. Samuel J. Bradberry and Dr. Adam Henwood took part to the conference poster session by giving some small presentations of their works, with Bruno impressing the committee, which awarded him with the poster prize. Keeping up the good work!


Chem. Soc. Review on Ru(II) polypyridyl complexes

Congratulations to group alumnus, and continuing coworker, Fergus Poynton (now a PD researcher in the School of Medicine, TCD) on their bumper review (over 50 pages in print, 465 references) available now online at Chemical Society Reviews! The review appears in a themed collection on Imaging Agents and was co-written with previous TG group members Dr. Sandra Bright (now HRPA), Dr, Salvador Blasco (now an Associated Professor at CEU Cardenal Herrera University) along with Profs. John M. Kelly and D. Clive Williams (TCD).

The review covers extensively the development of Ru(II) polypyridyl complexes for both in vitro cellular imaging and in vivo therapeutic application, highlighting the diversity and potential of these systems in a variety of complexes. The article charts the developments and exploration of photophysical properties, structural variations and biological studies over recent years and ends with an apt discussion of the concerns and importance of reproducibilty in academic clinical and drug development studies.

Well done to all, this is sure to become an important source as the field moves forwards! Read it now at RSC Publishing.

3 New Articles from Raju published in RSC Journals

Congratulation Dr. Sankarasekaran Shanmugaraju (Raju) on a hat-trick of publication recently out in Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, Chem. Commun and Journal of Material Chemistry A.

In Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry, working with Chris and Sachi as well as group alumni Jon Kitchen and Salvador Blasco, he reported a novel one-pot synthetic strategy for the synthesis of a family of N-alkyl-1,8-naphthalimide based Tröger’s bases via a nucleophilic substitution reaction of a common ‘precursor’ N-aryl-1,8-naphthalimide Tröger’s base and aliphatic primary amine, neat at 80 °C.

In Chem. Commun the synthesis and structural characterization of two novel supramolecular coordination polymers TB-Co-CP and TB-Cd-CP was described, containing Tröger’s base structural motifs, from a novel V-shaped 4-amino-1,8-naphthalimide derived Tröger’s base luminescent scaffold. These are the second examples of such systems, and the first to be structurally characterised through X-ray diffraction analysis, which demonstrated that, in each case, substantial face-to-face π-π interactions prevail the extended structures, leading to 1D-supramolecular polymeric networks. These results are of major importance in demonstrating the application of NapTB in coordination and inorganic supramolecular chemistry. This communication was published in a special issue on “chemosensor and molecular logic”. Also, the work was featured as an inside front cover!    

The very recent article published in Journal of Material Chemistry A, Raju reported a Tröger’s base-functionalised covalent organic polymer (TB-COP) which was used as an adsorbent/molecular filter for the efficient removal of secondary chemical explosives picric acid (PA) from water. The extraction of PA was also clearly visible to the naked eye, where the yellow colored PA solution became transparent upon addition of TB-COP. Importantly, TB-COP could be used to store PA over a long period of time in a safe manner, without any leakage or any significant loss in extraction efficiency. Moreover, the polymer could be reused for several adsorption cycles, as PA could be released back into solution by simply changing the pH of the aqueous media. This makes TB-COP an extremely promising material for the selective and efficient removal of picric acid from water, as well as TB-COP can be considered as being a ‘fast’ and naked eye colorimetric indicator for such analytes.


Congrats to Raju and collaborators for these excellent articles!

Sachi’s review on supramolecular polymers and functional soft materials available in Chem

Congratulations to Sachi on the publication of his review “Supramolecular Chemistry: A Toolkit for Soft Functional Materials and Organic Particles” now available online in the journal Chem. The review discusses the application of supramolecular chemistry towards the development of soft materials and exploring their application. The article discusses the progress from the past 10 years of exciting research in the field. He highlights how the supramolecular approach has emerged as a toolkit with remarkable capability for the assembly of rationally designed building blocks, which precisely organize in three-dimensional space to form intricate molecular assemblies as well as bulk material with functional properties. This potential in supramolecular chemistry has emerged as a platform for the discovery of new systems and/or novel applications for existing ones, particularly in soft functional materials.

Have a read of Sachi’s review for free, courtesy of the Publishers Cell Press and Elsevier, until the 29th December 2017 at https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1W1D~8jWHDxiaP.

Well done Sachi and co-workers on your achievement!

New Paper in Supramolecular Chemistry

Congratulations Amy, Marcel and Chris on the publication of their paper “A Schiff-base cross-linked supramolecular polymer containing diiminophenol compartments and its interaction with copper(II) ions” in Supramolecular Chemistry. The research describes Schiff-base cross-linked supramolecular polymer containing diiminophenol compartments and the interaction with copper(II) ions. Marcel worked on this project during as an Erasmus visiting student in the group last year from the University of Munster, and took in the collaboration of Prof. Wolfgang Schmitt and his group in TCD to understand the gas adsorption properties of the polymers.

Review on Luminescent Metal-based Anion sensors on Coordination Chemistry Reviews

Congratulations to Anna and Dermot on the publication of their new review “Luminescent/colorimetric probes and (chemo-) sensors for detecting anions based on transition and lanthanide ion receptor/binding complexes” focusing on the recent highlights of metal complexes as luminescent probes for anions in the first issue of Coordination Chemistry Reviews in 2018. Their review (87 references) describes key advances from the last five years in the use and mechanisms of main block, d– and f– metals in the design of luminescent probes for anion guests of both environmental and biological relevance.

Anna and Dermot are both PhD students and spearhead the TG groups own anion recognition research interests, studying the anion-directed self-assembly of interlocked systems such as [n]catenanes and rotaxanes while also providing support to others in the group to study anion interactions of their own systems.  Their research is kindly supported by the School of Chemistry (A.A.) and the Irish Research Council (D.G.) which supports our other IRC and SFI funded projects. Well done to all involved.

The review is available to read courtesy of the publisher Elsevier until January 5th 2018 here.

Dr Sam Bradberry Graduates!


As part of the Autumn Commencements at Trinity College Dublin, Dr Sam Bradberry was conferred with his PhD degree in the Public Theatre.

Sam’s thesis, “Design and development of novel self-assembled luminescent lanthanide complexes in solution and in responsive soft materials” and the work that lead to its realization has been of great value for the TG Group, and we as a whole wish to congratulate him for his achievement. Great Job Sam!