Research objectives and content
Although there are many neutral organic receptors for cations (cationophores), there are very few analogues for inorganic anions. The group of Prof. Davis has recently synthesized such a compound, with unprecedented potency and selectivity as a receptor for halide anions (especially chloride). I propose to develop an improved synthesis of this anionophore and/or develop a synthesis of an alternative which may prove even more effective. With either system as a starting point, I will investigate the possibility of "tuning" potency and selectivity through adjustment of the functionality present. I will also study the ability of these receptors to extract anions into organic media and mediate transport through bulk organic membranes. Anion transport through liposomal membranes, through natural cell membranes and at electrode surfaces will be investigated in collaborations with other groups.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
My "tesina" research in Spain has introduced me to the study of molecular (especially anion) recognition. This project will extend my training in relevant areas of synthetic chemistry, and also in theoretical and "physical organic" aspects of supramolecular chemistry. Exposure, through collaboration, to analytical, physical chemistry and biochemistry groups will broaden my experience further.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)
The work may lead to improved analytical methods for anions, and may also yield compounds with useful biological activity. The Dublin group has an industrial collaboration in the former area, and several companies have expressed interest in the latter.