Publication Date

Summer 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Gilles Muller


Chiral, Circularly Polarized Luminescence, Coordination, CPL, Lanthanide, Spectroscopy

Subject Areas

Inorganic chemistry; Physical chemistry; Analytical chemistry


Biological systems are often chiral or involve chiral compounds, e.g. L amino acids, the neurotransmitter L epinephrine. In some cases, two enantiomers of a chiral drug will have different activities, and in extreme cases, one form is therapeutic while the other form is toxic. Therefore, the development of reliable molecular probes for biological applications and chiral sensing is an important area of study. The unique spectroscopic and coordination properties of some lanthanide ions (Ln3+) and their complexes make them suitable for use as molecular probes. Chiral ligand systems have been developed that can coordinate with lanthanide ions to form complexes where the ligand excitation leads to Ln3+ luminescence through the antenna effect. The ligand discussed in this thesis, (R,R) N, N' bis(1 phenylpropyl) 2,6 pyridinedicarboxamide L(Et), is in a family of ligands with a common 2,6 pyridinedicarboxamide moiety. These ligands form chiral complexes, [LnL3]3+, where the circularly polarized luminescence (CPL) fingerprint of these complexes reflects the chiral environment at the metal center. Comparison of the photophysical, structural and chiroptical properties of L(Et), and the [Ln(L(Et))3]3+ complexes it forms, with the results from studies of other related ligands allows us to gain an overall idea of the behavior of this family of ligands.