Oxana, Sam and Sandra take part in the 27th PhotoIUPAC conference in Dublin

PhotoIUPAC, the biennial global IUPAC conference for photochemistry, came to UCD this July (8th – 13th, 2018) and several TG members contributed throughout the week. Post-doctoral researchers Dr. Oxana Kotova and Dr. Sam Bradberry gave talks titled “Effect of Spacer Size in Chiral Luminescent Di-metallic Eu(III) Helicates” and “Supramolecular Scaffolds for Lanthanide Luminescence”, respectively, describing some of the research they have undertaken recently in the group.

PhD student Sandra Estalayo presented a poster on the Ru(II) complexes for singlet-oxygen generation work that she has been carrying out in her PhD in close collaboration with Prof. John Kelly (TCD). Working backstage, PhD students Jason Delente and Isabel Hegarty volunteered to help run the four parallel sessions throughout the week. The group were exposed to exciting and varied science from all corners of the globe, early career researchers and established names from every field of photochemistry, in what was an excellent and diverse programme of talks.

The conference, at its 27th edition, was organised by Dr. Susan Quinn of UCD and Prof. Miguel A. Garcia-Garibay from UCLA. It showcased world-class research in photochemistry with contributors from over 40 countries and was a very stimulating meeting. The 28th meeting will be held in Amsterdam in 2020. See you there, PhotoIUPAC!

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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!

Sam Bradberry successfully defends his PhD thesis

IMAG3236Congratulations to Sam Bradberry, who today successfully defended his PhD thesis, entitled Design and development of novel self-assembled luminescent lanthanide complexes in solution and in responsive soft materials.

The four year research project was carried out in collaboration with Dr Amir Khan of the School of Biochemistry and Immunology, TCD and Prof. Colin McCoy of Queens University Belfast. Sam’s work has been published in several journals including Chemical Communications and Faraday Discussions. After the viva, Sam joined the rest of the TG group for a celebratory reception in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute.


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.

Wedding Congratulations to Sam and Anna!

Many congratulations to Sam and Anna on the occasion of their wedding! The ceremony was held in Anna’s home country of Italy, and several past and present members of the group were lucky enough to celebrate the happy occasion with the newly married couple. We wish you the very best in your life together!

Sam, Anna and Dermot teach TY students about molecular logic

As part of the School of Chemisty’s annual Transition Year (TY) programme, Sam, Anna and Dermot gave an interactive demonstration on molecular logic to a group of sixty TY students. This is the second year in a row that the group has presented on smart materials and chemical computation, in an informative lecture that covers the life and legacy of mathematician George Boole, logic gates and the life-saving work of Prof A.P. de Silva in Belfast, and our own group’s work with lanthanides.

The students learned how logical functions operate in a series of interactive exercises, before testing out the gel-based logic gates themselves. The demonstration was originally developed by Sam and Joe as part of Discover Research Dublin 2015, and to mark the 200th birthday of Boole.

A new paper on monitoring the onset of bacterial infection using lanthanide luminescent probes within hydrogels accepted for publication in JACS


The europium-based luminescence is only quenched when urease enzymes break down urea in the solution

Many congratulations to Esther, Sam and Sandra who had their paper “Luminescent Lanthanide Cyclen-Based Enzymatic Assay Capable of Diagnosing the Onset of Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections Both in Solution and within Polymeric Hydrogels” accepted in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. The work focuses on using delayed 
luminescence Eu(III)-based pH-responsive probes to monitor the activity of urease, which hydrolyses urea in
 aqueous solution upon onset of bacterial infection.
 This system can be incorporated into soft polymeric materials such as hydrogels. The work was carried out in collaboration with Prof. Clive Williams of the School of Biochemistry and Immunology in TCD and Prof. Colin McCoy from the School of Pharmacy, Queen’s University of Belfast.