PhD candidate Regina Ibragimova, engineer at the Organic Compounds Lab, talks about her and her colleagues' work.
The group works on colorimetric sensors, their research being supported by a grant from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research.
Ms. Ibragimova explains, «We introduce calixarene derivatives into molecules and create colorimetic sensors based on them. We also use diacetylene derivatives that are known for their susceptibility to photo polymerization, i.e. forming polymers under the influence of light, and these polymers are colored».
Combining polymerized fragments with the calixarene platform allows to produce unique polymers that change their color in presence of analytes, such as heavy metals, viruses, DNA, and other substances.
The polymers can then be used for express analysis (invaluable for obtaining drinking water, for example). They can be applied to a sheet of paper or some other surface and then submerged into an analyzed substance to find out if their color changes.
The project is implemented at the Department of Organic Chemistry with participation from five young researchers – one graduate student, two PhD candidates and two recent PhD holders. For Ms. Ibragimova personally this is a logical continuation of her graduation research project.
Although the project has been financed by RFBR for only several months, there are already some precursors worked out by the team. The research will soon be presented in the New Journal of Chemistry. Further research will be directed at colloid and photophysical characteristics of polymer nanoparticles and at producing Langmuir–Blodgett films.