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.


Eoin McCarney’s first publication in Chemical Communications

Eoin McCarney, 2nd year PhD research chemist in the Gunnlaugsson group, had his first journal article published in Chemical Communications earlier this month. The work reported entails the formation and characterisation of a healable lanthanide luminescent metallogel from 2,6-bis(1,2,3-triazol-4-yl)pyridine (btp) ligands. Co-authors include Gunnlaugsson group member Dr. Joe Byrne who supervised the initial stages of the project, crystallographers Dr. Brendan Twamley and Dr. Miguel Martínez-Calvo, physicists Gavin Ryan and Prof. Matthias Möbius for the rheological studies of the soft matter gel and Prof. Thorri Gunnlaugsson. DOI: 10.1039/C5CC03139G

Ln(III) luminescent self-healing soft matter

Ln(III) luminescent self-healing soft matter

Irish Times highlights soft materials research from TG Group

IT-gels-May2015Journalist 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.

Sachi presents at “TCD Metals” Seminar Series

As part of the “TsachiTCD MetalsCD Metals” Seminar Series in Trinity College School of Chemistry, Savyasachi A J presented his PhD work in a talk entitled “Luminescent Microspheres: Self-Assembly Studies of Novel Tripodal Ligands with Europium”. In this presentation, recent developments in the self-assembly of terpyridine-based tripodal molecules with europium ions, as well as the application of these compounds towards the discovery of new materials, were discussed.

Starting with titration  experiments of these ligands with Eu(III), the formation of self-assembled structures and coordination polymers from the same ligands at different concentrations was shown by various spectrophotometric techniques. Then the presentation moved towards the development of soft materials like gels from the same ligands. Additionally, the surprising discovery of the formation of spherical microparticles were shown. Later, the discussion advanced towards the experiments performed on the microspheres in order to understand the mechanism of formation, applications and the materials properties of these structures. Throughout the presentation a wide variety of spectroscopic and electron microscopic techniques were discussed and utilised in the exploration of this new class of materials.