Sensing and Photoremediation

Porphyrins as sensors

Porphyrin molecules are ideal candidates for incorporation into sensing systems as colorimetric reagents. Intermolecular interactions can affect the photophysical properties of porphyrin molecules and, when combined with selective uptake using supramolecular concepts, allow for targeted sensing of only the desired analytes.

The Senge group is researching porphyrin-based sensors for chiral molecule quantification. Chiral molecules can often offer vastly different toxicities and pollution profiles. Chiral discriminatory detection often requires large, expensive apparatus and cumbersome sample volumes. Appending a molecular recognition unit to a porphyrin antenna generates a nanoscale sensor with enzyme-mimetic selectivity for a particular molecule. The variety of porphyrinoid molecules which can be accessed, coupled with different supramolecular hosts allows for almost infinite variations on this core concept. This interdisciplinary research is funded as part of the INITIO project, which aims to develop a general platform for the sensing of chiral pollutants. More information is available at the INITIO homepage.

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Sensing of simple ions in solution is important for many industrial processes. Research in the Senge group has demonstrated that porphyrins with designed modalities can act as sensors for these analytes and show particularly strong affinities to shape-compatible ions. More information in the recently published review by Norvaiša, Kielmann and Senge available here

K. Norvaiša, K. J. Flanagan, D. Gibbons, M. O. Senge, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2019, 58, 16553.

Nonplanar porphyrin UV-vis spectra with titration of pyrophosphate