With a view to increasing the understanding of molecular recognition processes in biological systems and producing new molecular sensors, switches and devices, my research is focused on the synthesis of novel host molecules that contain redox- or photo-active reporter groups. These systems have been designed to complex and sense, anionic or neutral inorganic or organic guest species via electrochemical and optical methods. Selective binding of a particular guest species is of paramount importance for commercial applications such as potential prototypes of new molecular sensory devices, molecular switches and extraction agents for cleansing the environment of toxic materials. Recently I have been exploring the use of the halogen bonding in solution as a receptor of anions. Halogen bonding is largely underexploited, with the majority of reported cases in the solid state. However, I have recently reported the first example of a receptor for anions in aqueous media through halogen bonding. Integrating halogen atoms into molecular host frameworks influences greatly the host’s recognition behaviour.
Especially interesting is the area of surface and nanoparticle chemistry, due to the singular optical and electrochemical properties of nanoparticles and their applications in catalysis, biomedical imaging and materials. My research in this area focuses on exploiting the remarkable surface enhancement of anion recognition to fabricate highly sensitive and selective anion detection devices.
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