Research in our group focuses on the development of new photoresponsive soft nanomaterials for applications in sensing, organic electronics and chemical biology. We are exploring a self-assembly mediated methodology for the synthesis of functional soft nanomaterials.
Members of the group will gain skills in synthesis and characterization of organic molecules and nanomaterials, as well as a variety of spectroscopic and microscopic techniques.
π-Conjugated organoboron molecules prepared by coordinating boron to chelate ligands are highly luminescent. The electronic properties of these molecules can be tuned by changing the nature of substituent groups on either the ligands or the boron centres. We are interested in using organoboron compounds as building blocks for constructing supramolecular architectures. We focus on synthesizing simple monomer units which will be induced to self-assemble into complex, functional structures. Ease of synthesis and functionalization, good solubility and processibility make these materials ideal for applications in chemistry and biology.
Fine-tuning the photochemical and photophysical properties of dye molecules with the aid of supramolecular interactions is an interesting area of research. We are interested in designing nanocomposites of common dye molecules using polymers or metal nanoparticles. This approach not only reduces the number of synthetic steps but also imparts interesting (photo)physical properties thereby allowing them to be used for biological applications.
Nucleic Acid Analogues
Synthetic nucleic acids are widely used in fundamental research and also for applications in medical diagnosis and drug development. Some of them have been commercialized as drugs and several are undergoing clinical trials. However, the synthetic challenge involved in the preparation of functionalized nucleic acids is restricting their wide-spread development. We aim to develop new methodologies based on supramolecular chemistry to synthesize nucleic acid analogues in order to explore their therapeutic and materials applications.