Metals and their functions – Research Subjects

< Back to équipe homepage

  • Bio-inorganic and medicinal chemistry
    Since the discovery of cisplatin as an anticancer agent, chemists have varied the ligands around the metal to improve its efficacy while trying to reduce its side effects. Although there have been more failures than successes, essential progress has been made in elucidating the mechanisms of tumor resistance properties. N-heterocyclic carbene as a ligand for organometallic chemistry is a relatively young field that offers new opportunities in many areas, including medicinal chemistry. In the laboratory, we are developing new tools to combat cancer cells and cancer stem cells. Our strategy combines noble metal with novel NHC ligands. In collaboration with the Faculty of Pharmacy (3BIO team), we are studying their anticancer activity and mode of action.
  • Organometallic chemistry and catalysis
    Asymmetric catalysis, which combines a transition metal with a chiral ligand, has emerged as the most elegant and efficient technique for creating a new stereogenic centre. As the catalyst is not consumed during the process, it can be used in substoichiometric quantities, improving efficiency and avoiding waste. In the laboratory, we design and synthesize new ligands for various enantioselective and non-enantioselective reactions. We are particularly interested in the phenomen of chirality amplification, which is essential not only to understand the mechanisms of the catalytic reaction, but also to contribute to the debate on homochirality in life.
  • Supramolecular and materials chemistry
  • Supramolecular functional materials capable of responding to external stimuli offer advantages over their conventional covalent counterparts. In our lab, the design of (chiral) molecular building blocks that self-assemble via intermolecular forces to form coordination structures enables us to create innovative materials for diverse applications. In particular, we are interested in the preparation of actuators capable of responding to external stimuli in a spatio-temporal manner, of self-repairing and of indicating a direction of movement. In addition to first-row transition metals such as Cu(I)/Cu(II) and Zn(I)/Zn(II), second and third-row metals with tendency to self-assemble and stack (mainly Pt(II) coordination compounds) are also prepared and studied, with a special focus on their luminescence properties.
  • Red, Near-IR and circularly polarized emitters
    Our équipe is also working on the design, development and photophysical characterization of fluorescent and phosphorescent organometallic emitters pushing the boundaries of emission well above the red region of the visible spectrum, in the near-IR (>750 nm). In addition to this, some of these compounds are designed with the goal to achieve circularly polarized luminescence (CPL). These novel emitters are then fully characterized and sent to our collaborators to be tested in experimental devices.
  • Expertise in detailed photophysical studies
    In our laboratories we have access to a wide range of instruments to fully characterize luminescent compounds, with three double-beam UV-Vis spectrophotometers, a steady-state Horiba Jobin−Yvon IBH FL-322 Fluorolog 3 spectrometer equipped with a 450 W xenon arc lamp, and time-resolved PicoQuant FluoTime 300 fluorimeter with multiple pulsed lasers. With the aid of custom quartzware we can carry out extensive photophysical studies in solution, at low temperature, in the solid state, in spin-coated polymer thin films, and in degassed conditions. This allows us to engage in multiple collaborations with researchers who wish to study and investigate the luminescence properties and emission dynamics of their organic, organometallic or inorganic compounds.

Author: Valerio GIUSO

Born in 1996 in Verona, northern Italy, I am a chemist (BSc, MSc) with an applied and industrial background. My scientific interests are mostly focused on organic and organometallic molecular synthesis and characterization techniques.