News and events
From left to right: Mili Litvajova, Prof. Sylvia Draper (Head, School of Chemistry) and Shaun Mills
Congratulations to Shaun Mills (winner) and Mili Litvajova (runner-up), who were awarded the prize for the Best Demonstrator to the Junior Freshman Physical Chemistry Class for 2013/2014. The award is based on the assessment of the undergraduate students and of the staff members in charge of the classes and recognises the efforts that School of Chemistry postgraduate students go to in delivering high-quality laboratory instruction.
- Poster Award for Michelle Browne TEECE Group
- More Latin American adventures of a travelling electrochemist
- RSC ChemNet Event: Career Opportunities Aplenty for Irish Chemists
- Prof. Valeria Nicolosi wins the WMB Woman in Technology Award 2013
- TEECE Group Summer Intern Suman Koirala receives 1st Prize in SURE Poster Competition
- School of Chemistry Researchers Discover Method to ‘Grow’ Nano-wires from Common Table Salt
- Chemistry PhD Student is the recipient of the Robert A. Meyer award
- Michelle Browne (TEECE group) receives scholarship to SPASECS
- TCD Chemistry/CRANN researchers optimize electrochemical water-splitting using cheap oxide materials
- Researchers at CRANN based at TCD, have discovered a new concept in sensor-development
- 65th Irish Universities Chemistry Research Colloquium (27-28 June 2013)
- Congratulations to the School’s Recipients of SFI Investigator Awards & Investigator Projects
- SS Chemist Robert Conway-Kenny wins Ernst & Young Essay Competition 2012-2013
Admission is free and all are welcome but those wishing to attend must register (via link below) as space is limited
From left to right: Prof. Susana Torresi (Vice- President of the International Society of Electrochemistry) and Michelle Browne TEECE Group TCD.
Michelle Browne (supervised by Prof. Mike Lyons and Prof. Paula Colavita) was presented with a poster award, funded by the International Society of Electrochemistry at São Paulo School of Advanced Sciences on Electrochemistry, Energy Conversion and Storage (SPASECS) at the Institute of Chemistry in the University of São Paulo, which took place from December 7th until 14th, 2013. SPASECS is a special edition of the already traditional School of Electrochemistry that is annually organized at IQUSP.
This year, with the financial support of São Paulo State Foundation (FAPESP), eight days of intensive theoretical and laboratorial electrochemistry course together with conferences on lithium-ion batteries, lithium-air batteries, fuel cell and electrochemical capacitors took place with the participation of specialists from Brazilian and foreign Universities.
Michelle was chosen as one of the 39 international students and 39 Brazilian students to attend the course. Michelle’s poster was entitled ‘The Oxygen Evolution Reaction at Manganese/Manganese Ruthenium/Ruthenium films in Base'. This latest achievement by a TEECE Group member completes a very active and successful year for the group which is rapidly expanding.
Team TCD at Santiago Airport
From left to right: Dr Damaris Fernandez, Prof. Mike Lyons, Dr Colm Faulkner, Prof. Tim Persoons.
A TCD team headed by Professor Mike Lyons headed to Chile over the period 7-14 December 2013 to visit CODELCO at its corporate headquarters in Santiago in order to progress and develop research/education initiatives in the area of Raw Materials. The TCD team consisted of Prof. Mike Lyons (Chemistry/CRANN), Dr Damaris Fernandez (Chemistry/CRANN), Dr Colm Faulkner (CRANN) and Prof. Tim Persoons (Mechanical Engineering). The meeting was very productive and Prof Lyons and Dr Fernandez visited a CODELCO Copper production facility up country near (some 1.5 hours by SUV) the city of Calama in Chile. The facility is located in desert terrain and is at very high altitude and high temperature.
The visit to the CODELCO Mine/Plant was fascinating. We experienced the sight, sounds and working environment of electrochemistry at a very large industrial scale. The operation is open 365 days of the year, and 24/7. The scale was truly impressive. The results of this plant visit will be included in the current JS Electrochemistry Course where the process of copper electrowinning will be introduced as an example of electrochemical engineering!
The team was also invited to visit BASF in Santiago where possible future collaboration was discussed.
All in all Christmas in Chile can be both technically rewarding and fun to boot!
Mike Lyons, TEECE Group.
Be a Chemist and see interesting places.
Prof. Mike Lyons enjoying the Chilean desert landscape.
On Friday 15th November, the final day of Science Week in Ireland, over 250 secondary school students from the Dublin region attended an RSC ChemNet “Chemistry Careers” event hosted by the School of Chemistry, Trinity College Dublin. Representatives from a variety of local companies delivered a series of short talks aimed at highlighting the variety of career paths available with a degree in Chemistry. Current undergraduate and postgraduate students also described university life, the 9-5 of PhD studies, and provided some demonstration experiments during the interval. Later in the day a “Careers, Chemistry and Coffee” networking event was held for the postgraduate students in conjunction with the Werner Student ChemSoc. The event was supported by the RSC Education Networks, the Republic of Ireland Local Section and the Student Chemical Society Network.
Employers represented throughout the day included Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Henkel, Megazyme International, Tompkins, RSC Publishing and Eolaíocht Fhóiréinseach Éireann (formerly the Forensic Science Laboratory). Notably, many of the speakers were recent graduates from the School of Chemistry, demonstrating that there are still plenty of career opportunities for Chemists in Ireland. This news comes at a crucial time for school students making the important decision about which university course to choose.
Hilary Rimbi, a teacher from St Andrew’s College, Dublin, said “The students went away with the message that there are a variety of jobs available with a Chemistry degree, which was a positive outcome… It is a wonderful opportunity to be able to engage with people from industry.”
A recent article in the Irish Times (27/08/2013) highlighted the current “brain drain” that Ireland is experiencing, after the results from a major survey on emigration revealed that the people currently leaving the country for a new life abroad are much more likely to have a university education than the general population.
Event organiser, Dr. Rachel Evans from Trinity College Dublin, said: “It’s very encouraging for us to be able to show both our current and prospective undergraduate students that a good Chemistry degree opens the door to a prosperous career in Ireland. It’s fantastic to see that our former students have been so successful in their chosen paths.”
Dr. David Mangan, from Megazyme International, added: “Right now is a great time to be graduating with a Chemistry degree or PhD as there are increasing numbers of opportunities available. It was great for me to be able to pass on some of what I've learned to hopefully help people take advantage of those opportunities”.
A half-day symposium has been organized to raise awareness of the role of women chemists in the development of their discipline and in society. This event will take place in the Large Lecture Theatre, School of Chemistry, Trinity College Dublin (14:00-18:00) on Friday 8 November and will be followed by a reception.
Guest speakers at the event are:
Dr. Yvonne Traynor: former Ph.D. graduate of the School of Chemistry, Trinity College Dublin and Head of Global Quality at Henkel. Dr. Traynor's talk is entitled 'Choose a path and learn as you go'.
Dr. Mary Kelly was appointed Chairperson of An Bord Pleanála in August 2011. She had been the Director General of the Environmental Protection Agency since May 2002. She holds a PhD in Chemistry from Trinity College Dublin, and an MBA from Dublin City University. Mary previously worked with IBEC, the Irish Business and Employers Confederation, where she was responsible for environmental policy, and before that in the pharmaceutical industry. She was elected to membership of the Royal Irish Academy in 2008 and has served on the Council of the Academy. Dr. Kelly's talk is entitled 'Broadening horizons in career choices'.
Professor Christine Cardin: former lecturer in the School, now Professor of Crystallography, University of Reading. Prof. Cardin’s research area is nucleic acid crystallography and the molecular recognition of unusual nucleic-acid structures. The title of her talk is 'Women in Chemistry - X-ray crystallography and the XX factor'.
Dr. Elise Champeil: former ERAMUS and Ph.D. student of the School is now associate professor, John Jay College, New York. Dr. Champeil's talk is entitled “From Dublin to New York: A serendipitous journey through molecular synthesis, forensic science and cultural diversity”.
Professor Polly Arnold: Director of Research at the EaStCHEM School of Chemistry in Edinburgh University (Gold Athena Award) and rising International Researcher in bond activation of f-block metal complexes. Professor Arnold's talk is entitled 'A Chemical Imbalance in uranyl oxo group reactivity and in women in science.'
(Left to right: Rosemary Delaney, Managing Editor, WMB; Prof. Valeria Nicolosi;
Edel Flynn, CEO of the Digital Hub Development Agency (DHDA))
Congratulations to Professor Valeria Nicolosi (Schools of Chemistry & Physics & CRANN), the winner of the WMB Woman in Technology Award 2013 at the 2013 Women Mean Business Conference & Awards, held on Monday, October 7th in Dublin's Shelbourne Hotel.
Dr Damaris Fernandez (TEECE Group Mentor) and Mr Suman Koirala next to the winning poster.
Suman Koirala from the Chemical Engineering Department Cerritos College California spent an extended summer internship within the TEECE Group headed by PI Professor Mike Lyons. His project supervised by TEECE Post Doctoral Fellow Dr Damaris Fernández, entitled Electrochemical water spliting and formation of copper (i) oxide was presented at and was awarded 1st Prize in the SURE Poster Competition which was held on 21 August 2013.. Suman will leave Dublin and begin his studies in Berkely shortly this semister. Best wishes and safe journeySuman ! We hope you enjoyed your stay in Dublin.
Chemistry PhD Student is the recipient of the Robert A. Meyer award at the CARBON 2013 International Conference in Rio de Janeiro
Deirdre Murphy, a PhD student in Dr. Colavita’s laboratory, was recently awarded the Robert A. Meyer Award for her contribution at the CARBON 2013 International Conference in Rio de Janeiro in July 2013. The award is a prestigious recognition by the American Carbon Society, aimed at students who present their research work on carbon-related topics.
Deirdre presented her research work, which aims at understanding whether carbon bulk electronic properties can control photochemical transformations of adsorbed organic pollutants in carbonaceous aerosols. In order to achieve this goal Deirdre has synthesised analogues of organic pollutants commonly found at carbon aerosols and has used them to prepare model carbon/organic interfaces of controlled surface density and composition. Using a combination of experimental methods, she has carried out a molecular level investigation to identify factors that control rates of spontaneous assembly of these analogues at carbon surfaces of controlled composition. Her work so far has contributed significantly to the fundamental understanding of carbon interfacial chemistry at the molecular level and provides mechanistic insights that are of interest to researchers in the area of carbon materials and carbon/organic interfacial chemistry. She is currently working on photochemical interfacial reactions of these analogues at carbon surfaces. Her preliminary results show, for the first time, that the optoelectronic properties of disordered carbons can affect the yield and rate of reactions of environmental relevance.
Michelle Browne, a Ph.D. candidate in the Trinity Electrochemical Energy Conversion & Electrocatalysis (TEECE) Group, which is headed by PI, Prof. Mike Lyons, has been selected to receive a scholarship funded by the São Paulo State Foundation to attend the SPASECS (São Paulo School of Advanced Sciences on Electrochemistry, Energy Conversion and Storage) at the Institute of Chemistry in the University of São Paulo, taking place from December 7th until 14th, 2013.
Michelle was chosen as 1 of 40 graduate students and young doctors from all over the world, to attend the school. Well done Michelle!
TCD Chemistry/CRANN researchers
optimize electrochemical water-splitting using cheap oxide materials:
bringing the hydrogen economy that much closer
The electrolysis of water to its constituents hydrogen and oxygen may feature in school textbooks but the topic is still one of the existing grand challenges in materials science and engineering. The problem arises with developing suitable materials that are stable, efficient and cheap.
Recent work funded by SFI on electrochemical water splitting by the Trinity Electrochemical Energy Conversion & Electrocatalysis (TEECE) Group, which is headed by PI Prof. Mike Lyons and located within the School of Chemistry & CRANN, has been featured in a large Perspective article in the prestigious Journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics (PCCP) that has been granted hot article status by external peer review. Read more...
Researchers at CRANN based at TCD, have discovered a new concept in sensor-development
New graphene sensors could have use in air conditioning systems
and water treatment plants
Researchers at CRANN, Ireland’s leading nanoscience institute, funded by Science Foundation Ireland and based at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), have discovered a new concept in sensor-development. The research provides a completely new platform for the development of sensors worldwide and will lead to low-energy, remotely powered sensors that have greater detection capacity than those currently available.
Sensors receive and respond to signals when touched – either by physical or chemical matter. Everyday uses of sensors include in thermometers, medical devices such as pacemakers, in smoke alarms and intruder alarms, as well as in heat and air conditioning systems.
Prof. Georg Duesberg and his colleagues at CRANN and TCD’s School of Chemistry have manufactured a graphene diode sensor, composed of a single layer of graphene on a silicon surface. Graphene is a material with extraordinary properties that mean its use in sensors can detect even the slightest change in signal. It is a one-atom thick sheet of carbon, which is 200 times stronger than steel, but is incredibly conductive and extremely light.
For further details please read this Press Release [PDF 171KB].
65th Irish Universities Chemistry Research Colloquium (27-28 June 2013)
The School of Chemistry will host the 65th Irish Universities Chemistry Research Colloquium (27-28 June 2013).
Further details are available at: www.tcd.ie/Chemistry/colloquium
Four of the School’s award recipients L to R:
Prof. Rachel Evans, Prof. John Boland, Prof. Stephen Connon & Prof. Paula Colavita
|Prof. John Boland (Head of Physical, Computational and Materials Chemistry and Director of CRANN) received an SFI Investigator Award for his project
‘Atom level engineering of material-on-insulator devices and sensors’
|Our modern world relies on continued advances in computer and telecommunication technologies, both of which are driven by continued device miniaturization. Next-generation devices are 14 nm long – less than 100 atoms from end-to-end – and it has become increasingly difficult to predict, or indeed control, the property of materials at these length scales. In this project we will engineer for the very first time precisely controlled single crystal materials in a range of shapes and sizes (wires, sheets, air-bridges, cantilevers) and explore their properties at the single atom level. This will involve a detailed atom-by-atom description of the structure and electronic properties that are important for device operation, but also what happens to these properties as the material is controllably bent, strained or exposed to a range of chemical passivation that are important for device fabrication. The anticipated outcomes of this project include new kinds of device and sensor geometries with unprecedented performance and sensitivity.|
|Prof. Paula Colavita (Physical, Computational and Materials Chemistry) received an SFI Investigator Project for her application
‘Understanding lipid/carbon interactions for the rational design of biomaterials’
|Carbon coatings display excellent biocompatibility and are therefore used in numerous implantable devices, e.g. stents and joint replacements. A layer of adsorbed biomolecules that forms at surfaces immediately after contact with biological fluids (e.g. blood) is thought to determine the properties of carbon-coated devices. We will investigate how carbon surfaces interact with lipids, a class of important and abundant biomolecules that are known to affect biomaterial performance. Our aims are to understand how lipid layers form at carbon surfaces and to assess whether the process by which they form might impact the properties of carbon biodevices.
|Prof. Stephen Connon (Organic, Medicinal and Biological Chemistry) received an SFI Investigator Award for his project
‘Anhydrides as nucleophiles in new catalytic asymetric processes: development, scope, expansion and applicaton in drug development’
|The synthesis of chiral molecules - molecules that can exist (like our hands) as one of two mirror-image forms called enantiomers, has taken on increased significance since the realisation that drug 'hands' (enantiomers) can have different biological effects. One way of making one enantiomer exclusively is to catalyse its formation with a chiral catalyst. We will design novel chiral catalysts, which, inspired by biological catalysts, are metal-free. These catalysts will accelerate a new process discovered in our laboratory which can generate products of relatively high complexity and significant utility in medicinal chemistry (as single enantiomers) from simple starting materials.|
|Prof. Rachel Evans (Physical, Computational and Materials Chemistry) received an SFI Investigator Project for her application
‘Polymer-inorganic hybrids as luminescent solar concentrators for photovoltaics’
Luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) may provide a route to more efficient solar cells at reduced costs. They concentrate sunlight by absorbing and re-emitting it at a lower frequency within the confines of a transparent plate that is doped with dye molecules. The material guides the light to the edge of the plate, where it can be converted to electricity by a solar cell. This proposal investigates the use of conjugated polymer-inorganic hybrids as LSC materials for the first time. We aim to maximise light-concentration through interfacial nanopatterning and directional energy transfer, leading to significant improvements in LSC device efficiency.
|Prof. Yurii Gun’ko (Head of Inorganic and Synthetic Materials Chemistry) received an SFI Investigator Award for his project
‘Chiral inorganic nanomaterials’
|This project aims to develop new types of chiral inorganic nanoparticles using enantiomeric molecules or biomolecules as capping agents and templates. The research will involve the synthesis of Cd-free chiral quantum dots and metal-oxide nanoparticles and the investigation of their properties for potential applications in chemo- and bio-sensing and in asymmetric catalysis. Particular attention will be paid to the investigation of fundamental aspects of the artificially induced chirality and control of chiral properties in inorganic nanoparticulate systems. The chiral nanoparticles and their specific interactions with selected enantiomeric molecules and biomolecules will be investigated by various instrumental techniques. Metal-oxide nanoparticles and corresponding magnetic core-shell nanostructures, enabling magnetic recovery, will be investigated as potential catalysts for asymmetric oxidation. These chiral nanoparticles are expected to have potential applications in nanotechnology, chemistry, biochemistry and biopharmaceutical technology.
|Prof. Graeme Watson (Physical, Computational and Materials Chemistry) received an SFI Investigator Award for his project
‘Understanding the role of interfaces in solid oxide fuel cell efficiency: Optimising materials through predictive computer simulation’
|Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) offer the ability to generate energy in a more efficient, environmentally friendly way using a variety of fuel sources. However, they require high operating temperatures, increasing their running costs and making them impractical for many applications. This project will use simulation techniques to model the structure and properties of the materials used for the individual components, as well as the interactions that exist between them. Through a detailed understanding of these, methods for improving the efficiency of SOFCs and reducing their operating temperatures will be predicted and tested by our experimental collaborators.|
SS Chemist, Robert Conway-Kenny, wins First Prize in the CAS/Ernst & Young Essay Competition 2012-2013
Congratulations to Senior Sophister Chemist, Robert Conway-Kenny, who won First Prize in the CAS/Ernst & Young Essay Competition 2012-13 entitled "Research across the pond".
This essay competition is sponsored by Ernst & Young, which encourages Senior Sophister students to reflect on the skills they gained during their summer work experience and to identify how these skills would assist them in both their final year of studies and in future job-seeking activities. First prize in this competition is €250 and second prize is €150.
Robert with Jennifer Kane from Ernst & Young
A note from Robert about entering the competition:For the previous few years, the Careers Advisory Service, in association with Ernst & Young, have run a short essay competition in which one documents work experience done over the summer months to accompany their degree. Whilst this work experience is often unpaid due to the economic climate, it is still hard to come by due to the large number of people attempting to up-skill both during their college years and afterwards. As a chemist, I knew that I would require an extra section on my CV detailing academically relevant work experience if I was to stand any chance of getting a job or to potentially secure funding for a Ph.D. I entered the competition detailing my unpaid placement under the care of Prof. Andrew Myers at Harvard University during the summer months of 2011 and I unexpectedly won. As someone who never wins competitions, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ernst & Young and the Careers Advisory Service for choosing my essay.
Robert Conway-Kenny, SS Chemistry.