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Dario Braga


Department of Chemistry "Giacomo Ciamician"

Academic discipline: CHIM/03 General and Inorganic Chemistry

Head of ISA — Institute of Advanced Studies

Director of Istituto di Studi Superiori

Coordinator of PhD Programme of Nanoscience for Medicine and the Environment


Keywords: molecular and ionic co-crystals active pharmaceutical ingredients coordination network organic semiconductors solid-solid transitions crystallography solvent free reactions crystal engineering crystal polymorphism solid-state luminescence

The group is active along the following research lines
a) Molecular crystal polymorphism, investigation of crystallization and nucleation conditions of new polymorphic, co-crystals, and solvate forms of organic and inorganic molecular crystals. This research line includes some co-operative efforts and contracts with drug companies.
b) Design and preparation and characterization of hydrogen bonded hybrid inorganic-organometallic acid salts for application in solid fuel cell technology and investigation of the theoretical aspects of hydrogen bonding between and with ionic systems
c) Design, synthesis and characterization of organometallic building blocks for the preparation of superstructures based on heterometallic systems and for the engineering of network structures. The organometallic synthesis is carried out in Braga's prep lab.
d) Solvent-free reactions: here we explore both solid-gas reactions involving an organometallic solid substrate that reversibly absorbs and releases small molecules
e) Mechanochemically activated reactions between crystals or within crystals to form new crystalline materials or new molecular products in solvent-free conditions
f) Preparation of ionic and molecular co-crystals (Fabrizia Grepioni)
g) Preparation of supramolecular gels and investigation of their photochemical properties (Fabrizia Grepioni)
h) Synthesis and photochemical properties of clusters based on the CuI framework (Lucia Maini)
i) Structural determination from powder diffraction data

In 2005 Braga's Group launched a spinoff company (PolyCrystalLine, PCL s.r.l.) in the field of solid state chemistry and crystal polymorphism. The company is fully independent and employs several chemists from Braga's lab. PCL and Braga's research group now constitute a fully integrated knowledge-transfer system able to meet the demand of high tech research outsourcing from materials, chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

Crystal forms (Polymorphs, Solvates, Co-crystals and Ionic Co-crystals)  Design, synthesis, solid-state properties of new crystal forms (polymorphs, solvates, molecular and ionic co-crystals, salts and  coordination compounds with biocompatible metals) of organic molecules of pharmaceutical and agrochemical interest. Supramolecular gels

Supramolecular (super)gelators based on coordination compounds of d-block elements, to be used as media for crystallization of small molecules.

Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) are compounds based on a 3D structure in which nodes, made by metal ions (or metal ions clusters), are linked by organic bridging ligands. The structure itself is made by channels, which can be connected one to each others and gives the possibility to small molecules to be embedded in. MOF could be luminescence, such as the MOFs we are interested in, and the luminescence could be temperature depending and can be tuned depending on the ligand used and the crystallographic node properties. MOFs, in general, can satisfy a variety of needs in technological field such as luminescence for optical devices, drug delivery for pharmaceutical aims, catalysis and chemical sensors.

Photoluminescent solids. Tuning of the luminescence properties of molecular solids via co-crystallization. The targets are (i) the synthesis of phosphorent only-organic solid-state materials and (ii) the enhancement of photoluminescence response for applications in photovoltaic cells.

Crystal Engineering of molecular solids to be employed as sensors for X-ray radiation. Functionalization of organic semiconductors, with the aim of organizing the molecules in the solid-state to maximize the electric response to X-ray irradiation. A detailed knowledge of packing features and intermolecular interactions are essental for this task.

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