Physical and Theoretical Chemistry is a branch of our Chemistry department and builds upon existing areas of research strength. The main areas of research interest include hetero/homogeneous and organo-catalysis, colloids, biological building blocks, radical chemistry and electron-transfer, amorphous materials.
Within this group, Professor Vlcek’s research elucidates the character and dynamics of photo-induced ultrafast physical and chemical processes. Understanding the relationship between structure and function of the excited state underpins applications in photonics, molecular electronics and energy conversion.
Figure shows photo-triggered ultrafast electron flow and rectification in ReI-labelled Azurin. Ultra-fast electron transfer occurs from a CuI centre 2 nm away in less than 50ns when a tryptophan is introduced (W122). Hopping through the intervening tryptophan splits the path in two and increases electronic coupling.
We are home to a successful research programme in Synthesis and Catalysis with a central theme of developing new, innovative synthetic and catalytic methods, and applying them in a wide range of areas. The main areas of research interest include small molecule sensors, biomolecular nanoarrays, synthetic methodology development, and molecularly imprinted nanogels and drug delivery systems.
The Resmini group has focused on the development of imprinted microgels and nanogels with enzyme-like activities in the aldol condensation and carbonate hydrolysis; as well as for reactions where no enzyme exists, like the Kemp elimination.
The imprinted polymers have also been obtained with protein-like sizes and successfully used as synthetic antibodies and as the recognition element of a fiber optic sensor. These versatile materials are currently being evaluated as drug delivery systems for the skin, where the molecular imprinting approach is a very powerful tool that allows very good uploading efficiency and elevated drug incorporation.