Fergus presented with the RIA Young Chemist Prize

Congratulations to Dr Fergus Poynton, who was formally presented with the RIA Young Chemist Prize today. The prize is awarded annually by the Royal Irish Academy for the most outstanding chemistry thesis in Ireland.

Fergus won the prize in March for his thesis “Spectroscopic Investigations into the Excited-State Processes and Reactivity of Ruthenium(II) Polypyridyl Complexes”, he has since won one of the five IUPAC-Solvay International Awards for Young Chemists, and will receive the prize at the 46th IUPAC World Chemistry Congress in São Paulo this July.

In a special ceremony in the Academy, the prize was presented by Prof. Pat Guiry, Vice-Chair of the Physical, Chemical & Mathematical Sciences of the RIA. The ceremony was also attended by Fergus’ family and friends, as well as collaborators Clive Williams, TCD and Susan Quinn from UCD, co-supervisor John Kelly and his colleagues from the Donnelly research group in the School of Medicine.

Well done!

New publication in Chemical Communications


A sample of the naphthalimide-based hydrogel

Congratulations to Chris and Amy from the TG group, as well as collaborators Kevin Byrne and Prof. Wolfgang Schmitt (TCD School of Chemistry and CRANN) and Dr Gavin Ryan and Prof. Matthias Möbius (TCD School of Physics) for their recent publication in Chemical Communications entitled “A resilient and luminescent stimuli-responsive hydrogel from a heterotopic 1,8-naphthalimide-derived ligand”. This work describes the synthesis of a fluorescent naphthalimide-containing gelator which forms robust hydrogels in the presence of potassium ions. As well as a rare example of a hydrogelator containing no hydrogen bond donors, this material exhibits the useful property of chemical reversibility, where 18-crown-6 and potassium chloride can be used to disrupt or re-form the gel, respectively.

New paper on DNA-targeting phototherapeutic drugs published in Chem. Eur. J.

Congratulations to Fergus and Bjørn on their recent paper in Chemistry a European Journal titled Inosine can increase DNA’s susceptibility to photo-oxidation by a Ru(II) complex due to structural change in the minor groove. Key to the development of DNA-targeting phototherapeutic drugs is determining the interplay between the photoactivity of the drug and its binding preference for a target sequence. In this work, the photoactivity of Λ-[Ru(TAP)2(dppz)]2+ and its binding to oligonucleotides was studied, showing enhanced photo-oxidation when guanine is substituted with inosine, in spite of inosine being less easily oxidised. The work has been performed in collaboration with Prof. Susan Quinn of University College Dublin, Páraic Keane and Prof. Christine Cardin of the University of Reading, Prof. John Kelly from Trinity College Dublin and groups at the Diamond Light Source and Rutherford Appleton Laboratories in England.


Structural features of the interaction of the Ru(II) complex with two different DNA sequences.

New paper published in ChemPhysChem

WebsiteCongratulations to Laura (now at Pfizer), Sam, Steve and Oxana on their new communication published in ChemPhysChem. In this work, invited to a special issue on Molecular Logic, AuNPs were described that were functionalised with Eu(III) and Tb(III) cyclen complexes which were able to function as molecular logic gate mimics (MLGMs). Two MLGMs were reported operating using pH and organic molecule inputs, respectively, which were able to mimic half-subtractor, transfer and XOR logic functions.

Logic and Molecular logic have important history in Ireland, with George Boole developing his ideas in UCC (formerly Queen’s College Cork) and the early ideas of PET sensors as MLGMs being introduced by Prof. A.P. de Silva in Queen’s University Belfast. The TG Group has described a number of MLGMs over the years, most recently in materials systems such as our organogel-based system reported in Chem. Commun. last year. Our paper in ChemPhysChem is a further demonstration of the use of materials-supported Ln(III) luminescence, this time on AuNP surfaces and the power of logical analysis as an approach to supramolecular and sensing chemistry.

ChemPhysChem is a ChemPub Soc Europe journal, a consortium of 16 continental European chemical societies and published in collaboration with Wiley-VCH, and we are happy to have contributed to high impact European science.

New Paper published in Dalton Transactions

Graphical Abstract

Structure of the tetrameric [Zn4(L)4]8+ cation investigated in the work.

Congratulations to Dawn, Chris, Bjørn and Joe for their recent paper in Dalton Transactions titled “A folded [2 × 2] metallo-supramolecular grid from a bis-tridentate (1,2,3-triazol-4-yl)-picolinamide (tzpa) ligand“. In this work, a new flexible bis-tridentate donor ligand containing 1,2,3-triazolyl-picolinamide (tzpa) binding sites was developed, which contained structural elements from two of the group favorites 2,6-dipicolinamide (dpa) and 2,6-bis-(1,2,3-triazolyl)pyridine (btp). The new ligand was then used in the formation of a tetranuclear grid with Zn(II) or Fe(II) ions, which was probed with X-ray diffraction, NMR, UV-Visible spectroscopy and mass spectrometry. It also involved a productive collaboration with Dr Manuel Reuther and Dr John O’Brien from the NMR Spectroscopy Facility in TCD, who provided help in understanding the solution behavior of the material using the T1 spin-lattice relaxation parameter in 1H NMR spectroscopy.

New paper accepted in Chemical Science on a novel lanthanide-based white-light emitting system


Varying the colour of the emission by altering the molar fraction of europium in the system (𝛘Eu)

Congratulations to Oxana Kotova, Steve Comby and Christophe Lincheneau on their paper entitled “White-light emission from discrete heterometallic lanthanide-directed self-assembled complexes in solution” which has been accepted into the RSC journal Chemical Science. In this work, the newly designed multidentate ligand tdt was used, which provides three individual tridentate binding sites for lanthanide (Ln) ions. White-light emission was successfully achieved by carefully tuning (i) the molar ratio of Eu(III) and Tb(III) within the assembly and thus the relative intensity of the red and green emission, (ii) the excitation wavelength, as the tdt ligand consists of two different chromophores, and (iii) the ligand concentration, which greatly affects the intensity of the blue emission within the overall self-assembled complexes. We envisage that this system can be further developed and find its application as white-light emitting material or as a ratiometric sensor.