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Sylvia M. Draper

Teaching Activities


Group Members


School of Chemistry


Prof. Sylvia Draper

Phone: +353 1 896 2026
Fax: +353 1 671 2826

Address: Office 2.4, Sami Nasr Institute of Advanced Materials, School of Chemistry, University of Dublin, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland.

Career Profile

2004 - 2011: Head of Inorganic and Synthetic Materials Chemistry, TCD.
2005: Associate Professor, TCD.
2002: Senior Lecturer in Chemistry, TCD.
2001: Accelerated Promotion and Fellow of Trinity College.
1996: C. Chem. Professional Member of Royal Society of Chemistry.
1992: Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry, TCD.
1991: Ph.D. 'The Synthesis and Reactivity of Group VIIIB Metalloborane Butterfly Clusters', University of Cambridge, Prof. C. Housecroft.
1988: B.Sc. (1:1) Chemistry, University of Exeter.

Recent Awards

Since 2003: 9 poster prizes and 1 presentation award in international and national conferences to members of the group.
2008: P.I. awarded NAIRTL award for the integration of teaching and research
2008: P.I. awarded Provost’s Teaching Award

Recent Highlights

  • Partner in 2 E.U. programmes (BRITE/EURAM and MARIE CURIE), and holder of single-site TOK award.
  • Over 30 research grants as P.I. in the last 10 years.
  • Individually raised over € 4.5 million from national and international funding sources and a further € 1.5 million in collaborative projects. SFI excellence in research -profile of Irish researchers pg 20 case study 12
  • Supervised to completion 7 M.Sc. and 11 Ph.D. research graduates.
  • Current group comprises 3 undergraduate, 5 graduates, 1 postdoctoral researchers and 1 visiting research fellow.
  • Team well-versed in techniques such as multinuclear and multi-pulse nmr experiments, I.R., uv/vis absorption and emission spectroscopy, spectroelectrochemistry, CV, ESI mass spectrometry, STM and single-crystal diffraction.
  • Fruitful national collaborations and member of CSCB and associate P.I. CRANN.
  • International collaborators include Prof D. Bruce (liquid crystals), Prof I. Ledoux-Rak (non-linear optics), Dr. A. Weller (coronene complexation), Dr. A.llie (graphene research).
  • Work on a new class of luminescent polyfunctional molecules, the N-heterosuperbenzenes, was highlighted in Chem Eng. News in 2002 and 2003.
  • MKTD-TOK-SMART award was selected as one of 75 ‘success stories’ in EU FP6 programme report.
  • Invited lecturer e.g. lecturer e.g. 2012 - ISMSC (Keynote: Dunedin, New Zealand), CIMTEC-2008 (June, Sicily), RSC Irish Inorganic Research Symposium 2011 (Sept., Belfast) RSC Coordination Chemistry Meeting 2009 (June, Leeds).

Research Interests

Through the Centre for Chemical synthesis and Chemical Biology (CSCB) our work in bio-inorganic chemistry and catalysis continues, on methionine-baiting in the development of new palladium therapeutics (Dr. A. Nicolaus, Bradford), on thiosemicarbazones (Prof. B. McMurry, TCD), on structural studies into TRH-DE inhibitors (Dr. J. Kelly, TCD, Biochemistry) and Pd-centered pincer complexes (Prof. R. Bedford, Bristol).

In materials chemistry our work focuses on a synthetic route to a novel class of polyfunctional compounds: the Nitrogen Heterosuperbenzenes. These molecules can be thought of as fragments of N-doped graphite. They offer enormous potential as new molecular materials in opto-electronic devices (e.g. Light Emitting Diodes) because of their extended planar structures which give a degree of fluidity to the distribution of electrons. In addition they are tunable luminescent materials for sensor and photolytic applications; their intense fluorescence changes with pH and solvent type, giving traffic light variations in colour.

The synthetic processes that we have developed allow us to create a range of new systems which differ in the number and position of heteroatoms and in the extent and nature of the ring fusions. Un-fused rings twist out-of-the plane and produce novel propeller-like frameworks from which to build intricate molecular structures.

All the molecules described are interesting in their own right and extremely rare. However an added advantage is that they are designed to coordinate to a range of metal atoms. Many transition metals (e.g. ruthenium) have interesting photophysical or electrochemical properties and by attaching our ligands to these metals we can fine tune these additional characteristics and broaden the eventual applications of our compounds e.g. to light-harvesting compounds for solar cells. N-heterosuperbenzenes and their derivatives offer a technology platform for future research e.g. in the formation of self-assembled monolayers, and aspects of this work have required a whole new approach to controlling the aggregation and attachment of molecules on surfaces.

The results are a tribute to the work and commitment of the former and current members of my research team and our collaborators. They have given rise to the awarding of over 35 research grants in the last 10 years from E.U. and national sources and have allowed me to supervise 10 Ph.D. and 7 M.Sc. degree students to completion. My research group currently comprises 8 graduates and 6 postdoctoral researchers. Our work has given rise to over 50 publications in journals such as J.A.C.S., Inorg. Chem., Chem Commun. and Dalton Trans. in topical areas within inorganic chemistry. The work of the group has been highlighted in Chem Eng. News in 2002 and 2003 and was awarded the functional materials poster prize in the 36-ICCC Mexico 2004, 2nd Prize in RSC Coordination Chemistry Colloquium Belfast 2006 and Graduate Inorganic Speaker Award Dublin 2007. Our work contributes to CRANN and the HEA Advanced Materials programmes, giving it added value and enhancing its impact.

Recent Funding

2011 - 2016: SFI PI (10/IN.1/I2974) Principal Investigator Programme Compound Interest: Multiple Outputs from Light-emitting Materials.

2009 - 2013: SFI RPF 09/RFP/MTR2366 Research Frontiers Programme.
When Chemistry Stacks-Up: A Bottom-Up Approach to Functional Molecular Graphenes.

2008 - 2012: SFI RPF 05/BR/CHE1465 Research Frontiers Programme.
New Polyaromatic Thiophenes as Opto-Electronic Switches.
Collaborator: Prof Franco Scandola.

2004 - 2010: Marie-Curie ToK development grant FP6 – 14472.
Smart Molecules for Super Materials.

2006 - 2010: SFI 05PICA819 Career Advancement Award.
From Propellers to Stacks – New Metallated Architectures in the Design of Innovative, Functional and Responsive Materials.
Collaborators: Professors John Papanikolas, Karl Weighardt, D. Bruce.

2002 - 2011: HEA PRTL3/4 Centre for Synthesis and Chemical Biology.
co-applicant, joint project : (UCD/TCD/RCS).

2000 - 2010: 4 IRCSET PD researcher awards.
Chris Fitchett, Pablo Fernandez-Garcia, Lorraine Caldwell, Natasha Lundin.

2000 - 2010: 4 IRCSET PG research awards .
Cecile Ollagnier, Dilwyn Roberts, Deanne Nolan, Gearoid O’Maille.

Selected Research Outputs

Total number of published journal publications: 68, conference proceedings: 5, invited reviews; 4, invited chapters: 2, abstracts: 24, articles in popular print: 4, research highlights: 2, H factor 16. [5 year - journal impact factor] - average IF for P.I. publications= 4.039
  1. ‘Thienyl directed polyaromatic C-C bond fusions: S-doped hexabenzocoronenes’ Chem. Comm. 47, 3616-3618, 2011 Martin C.J., Gil B, Draper SM [IF 5.50]
  2. ’Ferrocenyl-Polyphenylenes- Toward Metallo-Organic Polyaromatics’ Organometallics 29, 6541-6547, 2010 D. J. Roberts, D. J. Gregg, C. M. Fitchett, SM. Draper [IF 4.204]
  3. ‘Switching and tuning organic solid state luminescence via a supramolecular approach’ Chem. Commun., 48, 7500-7502, 2009 S. P. Anthony, S. Varughese, S.M. Draper. [IF 5.50]
  4. ‘Robust Self-Assembled Monolayers of Ru(II) and Os(II) Polypyridines on Gold Surfaces: Exploring New Potentials’ Chem. Eur. J., 15, 5740-5748, 2009 F. A. Murphy, S. Suárez, E. Figgemeier, E. R. Schofield, S. M. Draper.[5, IF 5.38]


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Last Updated: April 15, 2011

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