Welcome message
Prof. Enrico Dalcanale

We are pleased to present our website. The aim is to offer to the public in general and to prospective graduate students/postdocs in particular, a bird’s eye view of the ongoing activity in our group. I hope this website will stimulate your interest in our research activity.

Enrico Dalcanale
Research Topics

Our group at the Department of Chemistry, Life Sciences and Environmental Sustainability has a long experience in the field of self-assembly and self-organization of functional materials. The current research topics of the group are:

• supramolecular sensors for biochemical and environmental applications;

• stimuli responsive polymers and composites;

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it” by Alan Kay

Mission of the Dalcanale’s group
The team interests are focused on the design and preparation of functional materials, using self-assembly and molecular recognition tools. Over the years the major themes have been: macrocyclic liquid crystals, self-assembled monolayers and LB films, metal-directed self-assembly of coordination cages, supramolecular sensors and adaptive polymers.
The group has been involved in studying metal-directed self-assembly of coordination cages, first in solution and then on gold and silicon surfaces. More recently the activity has been extended to the self-assembly of reversible polymeric structures, to molecular recognition on surfaces and to surface functionalization with Single Molecule Magnets (SMM).
RISE project VIT

In the last call of the Horizon 2020 MSCA-RISE, the European Commission approved and funded the VIT project (Polymer engineering via molecular design: embedding electrical and optical properties into VITrimers), presented by a Research Consortium of which our group is coordinator. The international consortium is made up of 10 academic research groups from 3 different continents (Europe, America, Asia) and 2 innovative companies (Bormioli Pharma and the Portuguese Plux Wireless Biosignals). In particular, VIT (Polymer engineering via molecular design: embedding electrical and optical properties into VITrimers) deals with vitrimers, new polymers that have the mechanical properties of thermosets at operating temperature, while they can flow like thermoplastics at high temperatures. These polymers are designed to overcome the critical issues related to the use of composites, materials of choice for structural applications, which cannot be recycled since at high temperatures they do not flow but degrade. VIT wants to endow vitrimers with optical and electrical properties functional to their use in sustainable mobility (E-cars), which are maintained after recycling, satisfying the "use-reuse-repair-recycling" paradigm of the circular economy. With the secondment of 97 PhD / postdoc students in Europe and around the world, the aim is to capitalize on the consortium's experience in chemistry and functional materials processing to develop a new generation of advanced vitrimers capable of meeting both the demands of mobility sustainable than those of the circular economy. Furthermore, the project aims to promote the career of young researchers and to strengthen and develop international and intersectoral scientific collaborations.

The project started on September 1st 2021

Just published on Small

Reusable Cavitand-Based Electrospun Membranes for the Removal of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons from Water

A new, regenerable polyacrylonitrile (PAN)-based membrane for the removal of PAHs from water is presented. The membrane, functionalized with an ad-hoc synthesized deep cavity cavitand, is easily produced by electrospinning and features excellent filter performances. The regeneration is obtained by pH-driven conformational vase-to-kite switch of the cavitand to release the included PAHs.

Published on Nature Chemistry

Selective discrimination and classification of G-quadruplex structures with a host-guest sensing array

DNA G-quadruplex can adopt a variety of secondary structures, but it is challenging to identify and classify them quickly. Multivariate analysis of different fluorescence enhancements - generated from an arrayed suite of synthetic hosts and cationic dyes - enables discrimination between G-quadruplex structures of identical length and similar topological types.