Second year PhD student Bruno D’Agostino visited the University of Southampton last week as part of a collaboration with Dr Jon Kitchen on lanthanide-based Langmuir-Blodgett films. He also attended the day-long 2017 Southampton Supramolecular Symposium on Friday, which was organised by the Kitchen and Goldup groups in Southampton.
Congratulations 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.
Journalist Dick Ahlstrom from the Irish Times highlighted the discovery of versatile lanthanide(III)-containing metallogels in a recent article:
The work involved mixing organic chemicals called ligands that naturally connect with the metals to form structures. He got one of his researchers, Dr Miguel Martínez-Calvo to make a simple new ligand and blended it with the metals.
“We thought we would get some kind of organic framework structure, but when we did the synthesis we got this gel, a new material that we didn’t expect,” says Dr Oxana Kotova, a research fellow in chemistry working with Gunnlaugsson. They described their findings in the current issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
It might have ended up as nothing more than gunk in the bottom of a test tube but the researchers had added two very useful metals in their gel, europium and terbium.
“We use these metals because they can connect to three or more ligands around them and they begin to organise themselves into shapes which would otherwise be impossible to form,” he says.
They self assemble to make a fibrous gel that has lots of useful properties. For example the gel readily “heals” itself after cuts or breaks.
“It is like jelly, you can push it around. We cut it with a scalpel and pulled it apart but then it grew back together and healed itself before our eyes.”
They worked with Trinity colleagues John Boland and Matthias Möbius who studied the gels at the nanotechnology scale of atoms to understand the structure.
Read the full article on the Irish Times website.