Dominic V Mcgrath

Dominic V Mcgrath

Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry-Sci
Professor, BIO5 Institute
Primary Department
Department Affiliations
(520) 626-4690

Research Interest

Dominic Mcgrath, PhD, set forth a program which involves the use of organic synthesis for the design, development, and application of new concepts in macromolecular, supramolecular, and materials chemistry. Research efforts span a number of areas in the chemical sciences and include studies of: 1) chiral dendritic macromolecules and the effect of chiral subunits on dendrimer conformation, 2) photochromic dendrimers and linear polymers which undergo structural changes in response to visible light, 3) liquid crystalline materials based on dendritic and photochromic mesogens, and 4) synthesis of new ligands based on saturated nitrogen heterocycles.A continuing interest remains in the effect of structural perturbations on the properties and functional of dendritic macromolecules. Part of this research addresses the design, synthesis, and study of dendrimeric materials containing chiral moieties in the interior for influencing the conformational order of these 3-dimensional macromolecules. An ultimate goal is to develop materials active for the selective clathration of small guest molecules. Potential applications include chemical separations, sensor technology, environmental remediation, and asymmetric catalysis.Dr. Mcgrath and his lab team recently developed several new classes of dendritic materials containing photochromic subunits. As nature uses light energy to alter function in photoresponsive systems such as photosynthesis, vision, phototropism, and phototaxis, they use light energy to drive gross topological or constitutional changes in fundamentally new dendritic architectures with precisely placed photoresponsive subunits. In short, they can drive dendrimer properties with light stimuli. Two entirely new classes of photoresponsive dendritic macromolecules have been developed and include: 1) photochromic dendrimers and 2) photolabile dendrimers. Dr. Mcgrath anticipates that switchable and degradable dendrimers of this type will have application in small molecule transport systems based on their ability to reversibly encapsulate guest molecules. He continues to develop these materials as potential transport hosts and photoresponsive supramolecular assemblies.


Crabtree, R. H., Dion, R. P., Gibboni, D. J., McGrath, D. V., & Holt, E. M. (1986). C-C bond cleavage in hydrocarbons by iridium complexes. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 108(23), 7222-7227.


A variety of transformations involving C-C bond cleavage in iridium complexes is described. 1,1-Dimethylcyclopentane reacts with [IrH2(Me2CO)2L2]SbF6 (L = (p-FC6H4)3P, 1) to give first [(5,5-C5H4Me2)IrL2]SbF6 (2) and then [(MeC5H4)IrMeL2]SbF6 (3). The corresponding 5,5-dimethylcyclopentadiene gives 1,2- and 1,3-diethylcyclopentadienyl complexes by a route that involves alkyl migration from ring to metal and back. 4,4-Dimethylcyclopentene also reacts to give 3 but the 3,3-isomer follows a different path to give [(MeC5H4)IrHL2]SbF6. Crystal structures of two diene complexes of type 2 are reported and mechanisms for the reactions observed are proposed. © 1986 American Chemical Society.

Cao, Y., Xin, W., Armstrong, N. R., & Mcgrath, D. V. (2018). Acetylene bridged side-strapped phthalocyanines: a solution processable organic semiconductor with high SCLC hole mobility. Chemical Communications.
Sidorenko, A., Houphouet-Boigny, C., Villavicencio, O., Hashemzadeh, M., McGrath, D. V., & Tsukruk, V. V. (2000). Photoresponsive Langmuir monolayers from azobenzene-containing dendrons. Langmuir, 16(26), 10569-10572.


The monolayer-forming properties of four generations of azobenzene-containing dendrons were investigated. The photochromic dendron for monolayer formation was used because of the potential ability to suppress crystallization of the photochromic fragments. All dendritic compounds can be spread on an air-water interface to form a stable monolayer. There ia a systematic increase in the cross-sectional area per molecule with increasing number of alkyl tails in the outer shell of dendrons.

Mayukh, M., Lu, C., Hernandez, E., & McGrath, D. V. (2011). Peripheral substitution of a near-IR-absorbing soluble phthalocyanine using "click" chemistry. Chemistry - A European Journal, 17(30), 8472-8478. doi:

PMID: 21671288;Abstract:

A series of near-IR-absorbing soluble phthalocyanines (Pcs) with eight alkyne moieties as side chains of the chromophore have been synthesized. One of these Pcs has been used as a scaffold for functional group modification using alkyne-azide click chemistry with various azides. This led to a small library of Pcs with photo and thermal crosslinkable, dendritic, and hydrophilic moieties starting from a single Pc molecule. A patterned thin film was fabricated by photocrosslinking one of these Pc derivatives. Copyright © 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Junge, D. M., & McGrath, D. V. (1999). Photoresponsive azobenzene-containing dendrimers with multiple discrete states. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 121(20), 4912-4913.