TG Group travel to Southampton for Supramolecular Symposium

It was nice to catch up with some old colleagues in Southampton and chat molecular logic with my “academic grandfather” AP de Silva, as well as why he enjoyed being educated by Buddhist monks and Catholic nuns at the same time in Sri Lanka!

Gunnlaugsson Group, Trinity College Dublin

Anna Aletti, Samuel Bradberry and Dr. Oxana Kotova of the TG group attended Southampton Supramolecular Chemistry Symposium on the 24th of June 2016.

delegates Southamption Supramolecular Symposium 2016 Delegates

All of them presented posters and, in addition, Samuel gave an excellent talk on “Lanthanide Luminescent Logic – functional organic scaffolds and soft polymers gels as logic gate mimics”.

DSC_0048 Sam giving his talk

DSC_0036 Sam and A P at the poster session

DSC_0043 Oxana with her poster

DSC_0035 Anna presenting her poster

2016-06-24 18.02.36 A P de Silva, Oxana, Anna, Joe and Sam at the drinks reception

Our former group member Dr. Joseph Byrne who is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the University of Bern attended the conference as well and presented a poster on his recent work published in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. on self-templated btp [2]Catenane.

The meeting included speakers and posters from UK Universities and beyond, including an outstanding lecture from the…

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Collaborations in Hong Kong

Collaborations in Hong Kong

I had the pleasure of spending some time this month in Hong Kong University in the laboratory of Professor Vivian Wing-Wah Yam, a high-profile inorganic chemist. We had previously had conversations about some overlap in our research interests and, thanks to the generous support of Science Foundation Ireland’s “International Strategic Collaboration Programme for China“, I was able to visit HKU and begin collaborative work, investigating luminescent inorganic compounds. I am also very grateful for the support of my supervisor Professor Thorri Gunnlaugsson in encouraging this endeavour and Professor Yam and her group for their hospitality: I ate the best authentic Cantonese food for lunch all through my stay!

Dr Sammual Yu-Lut Leung was exceptionally generous with his time during
my visit, arranging an office for me and teaching me some new techniques in the laboratory. The work we carried out during my visit will form the foundations for an exciting project.

I was invited to give a research seminar to members of the Chemistry Department in HKU on Friday 11th December 2015 and was delighted to have the opportunity to share my work with researchers so far geographically from home and discuss it in detail afterwards.

I gave a seminar on my research to researchers in HKU while visiting

Hong Kong is a beautiful city, a real melting pot of cultures, cuisine and indeed science. I immensely enjoyed my time there and believe this trip was the start of something fruitful.

 

Chiroptical probing of self-assembly with ligands formed in one-pot ‘click’ reaction from chiral amines (Chem. Eur. J.)

Chiroptical probing of self-assembly with ligands formed in one-pot 'click' reaction from chiral amines (Chem. Eur. J.)

After a lot of work, we finally got these results off my bench and into the literature. In our new article in “Chemistry – A European Journal” (Wiley), we present a convenient one-pot approach to synthesising chiral bis(triazolyl)pyridine ligands from enantiopure amines with the stereochemistry retained. This approach is broadly applicable.

Molecular structures of ligands 1a and 1b derived from X-ray crystallography
Molecular structures of ligands 1a and 1b derived from X-ray crystallography showing noteworthy dimer formation between the bis(triazolyl)pyridine cores

The beautiful mirror-image crystal structures were obtained by Dr Miguel Martínez-Calvo (now in Santiago) and show interesting supramolecular hydrogen bonding interactions between the ligands which we will exploit in the future.

Dr Bob Peacock in Glasgow performed circularly polarised luminescence spectroscopic measurements on the coloured lanthanide(III) complexes of these ligands, illustrating their optically active nature.

CD titrations for both enantiomers of 1 (a,b) and recalculated spectra arising from fitting of the titration of 1b with Eu(III) in acetonitrile

In this article, we were able to show interesting behaviour which has only really been studied so far by researchers in Prof Thorri Gunnlaugsson’s lab (with two other examples published recently in projects led by Dr Oxana Kotova and Sam Bradberry, respectively). This behaviour was the notable changes in the circular dichroism (CD) spectra of these chiral molecules upon addition of lanthanide(III) ions. These spectral changes could be fit to determine binding constants of this self-assembly. These clear chiroptical spectra are in contrast to a dissapointing aspect of results we published earlier this year in Inorganic Chemistry (with remote amino acid substituents giving rise to weak CPL and CD) and shows that placing the chiral centre nearer to the metal ion binding location enhanced the effect on the chiroptical properties of such systems.

URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/chem.201504257/full

“Luminescent Logic in Soft Materials” presentation wins prize at Discover Research Dublin open night

I was very proud of our outreach activities as part of Discover Research Dublin. We interested the public and appeared on the news. A good evening’s work!

Gunnlaugsson Group, Trinity College Dublin

Recent research from the TG Group on the use of lanthanide luminescent soft materials as molecular logic gate mimics was presented to the public as part of the Discover Dublin ResearchNight in the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute on 25th September 2015. The work was described in an RTÉ News bulletin the day before and many people attended the laboratory where Sam Bradberry, Joe Byrne and Anna Aletti showed them how research chemists can create functional materials from commercially available building blocks, step by step. Illustrations by artist Sophie Longwill helped communicate the complex ideas to an audience of all ages. The presentation won a prize as a result of feedback from visitors.

The research was recently published in an article in Chemical Communications. It describes the use of lanthanide luminescent bundles based on the “Trinity Sliotar” and the btp motif as components in methacrylate-based soft materials and their…

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Irish Universities Chemistry Colloquium

I really enjoyed going back to my alma mater to share some research, but also to lead delegates on a unique kind of walking tour. Not every chemistry conference comes with complimentary ghost stories!

Gunnlaugsson Group, Trinity College Dublin

imageThe majority of the research group attended the Irish Universities Chemistry Research Colloquium in Maynooth University on 25-26 June, many presenting posters over the two days. Sam Bradberry gave a talk presenting his work on polymeric soft materials, including hydrogels and luminescent logic gate mimic systems. This prompted some discussion from the audience.

imageIn the evening, Joe Byrne – a Maynooth alumnus – led the delegates on a walking tour of the historical campus, telling ghost stories he collected from staff during his undergraduate studies there. This alternative conference entertainment was enjoyed by those who attended.

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