News and events
- 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
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.