Skip to main content
Professor in the Department of Chemistry+44 (0) 191 33 42018


Martin Bryce was born near Birmingham, UK and graduated from Wolverhampton Polytechnic (B.Sc. 1st class). He obtained a D.Phil. from York University in 1978 for work on synthetic methodology for sulfur and selenium heterocycles under the guidance of John Vernon and Peter Hanson. Following postdoctoral positions at the University of British Columbia,Vancouver (in Larry Weiler’s group) and the University of Bristol (in Roger Alder’s group) he joined Durham University. He was promoted to Professor of Chemistry at Durham in 1995. He is the recipient of a Ciba-Geigy Award for academic collaboration in Europe (1990), the Royal Society of Chemistry Bader Award (1992), the Royal Society of Chemistry Interdisciplinary Award (1992), the Nuffield Foundation Science Research Fellowship (1993), the University of Durham Sir Derman Christopherson Fellowship (1995) and the Royal Society of Chemistry Heterocyclic Chemistry Award (2002). Martin has held Visiting Scientist positions at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and the University of Copenhagen. He was a Troisième Cycle Lecturer in Switzerland in 2008 and a Tarrant Visiting Professor at the University of Florida, Gainesville in 2013. He was the co-director of the Durham University Centre for Molecular and Nanoscale Electronics (1990-2018). He was the Scientific Editor of the Journal of Materials Chemistry (1995-2000). Martin coordinated the EC FP7 Marie Curie ITNs “Fundamentals of Molecular Electronic Assemblies” (FUNMOLS) (2008-2012) and “Molecular-Scale Electronics” (MOLESCO) (2014-2017) comprising 10 European partner laboratories. 

Research Interests

Our work is rooted in new synthetic chemistry. Current projects include:


Materials for Optoelectronic Applications

The ability to control the optoelectronic properties of conjugated molecular and polymeric systems is a fascinating aspect in the design of new materials for organic light-emitting devices (OLEDs) and displays that offer bright colours and high stabilty. Deep-blue fluorescent and phosphorescent emitters and white-light devices (WOLEDs) are of particular current interest. Representative work concerns small molecules and polymers that possess thermaly activated delayed fluorescence (TADF), such as structures 1-3,1-3 and room temperature organic phosphorescence.4 We have reported new emitters and OLEDs based on phosphorescent cyclometallated Ir complexes.5,6 This is very interdisciplinary work, some projects involving close collaboration with colleagues in the Department of Physics in Durham (Professors Andy Monkman and Fernando Dias), and with industrial sponsors who are commercialising some of these materials for display technologies and lighting applications. 

We are also studying luminescent organic and organometallic materials for sensing explosives, monitoring volatile organic compounds and for anti-conterfeiting and data encryption,7 for example iridium complex 48 and polyurethane derivative 5.9 These projects are in collaboration with Northeast Normal University, Changchun (Professor Dongxia Zhu).

Molecular and Nanoscale Electronics

Molecular electronics is attracting great attention due to potential applications in future computing technology, energy harvesting and storage, and related fields. A wide range of “molecular wires“, including structures 6-8, have been synthesised recently in our group.10-12 Their fundamenal optoelectronic, electrical and thermoelectrical properties are being developed in partnership with academic and industrial laboratories in Europe (notably IMDEA-Madrid, IBM-Zurich and Lancaster University) and China (Xiamen University) using specialised experimental techniques and theoretical expertise. Assembly and characterisation of molecules in metal | molecule | metal junctions is a prominant aspect of this work. 

Related projects probe photoinduced charge transport through pi-conjugated wire-like molecules such as 913 and 1014 end-capped with electron donor and acceptor units.The techniques include cyclic voltammetry, spectroelectrochemistry, steady-state and time-resolved photolysis, X-ray crystallography, ESR spectroscopy and theoretical calculations.

Molecules for Photodynamic and Photothermal Therapy

In collaboration with laboratories in Changchun we have designed, synthesised and evaluated new molecules for photodynamic and photothermal therapy. The work is focused on red and near-infrared emitting species with high biocompatibility. In vitro and in vivo experiments have established that molecules 1115 and 1216 encapsulated in nanoparticles exhibit potent cytotoxicity towards cancer cells and effectively inhibit tumour growth with high therapeutic efficacy. 

  1. Stachelek, P. et al, ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2019, 30, 27125-27133. DOI: 10.1021/acsami.9b06364.
  2. Li, C. et al, Adv. Opt. Mater. 2017, 5, 1700435. DOI: 10.1002/adom.201700435.
  3. Hempe, M. et al, J. Org. Chem. 2021, 86, 429-445. DOI: 10.1021/acs.joc.0c02174.
  4. Chen, C. et al, Angew. Chem., Int. Ed. 2018, 57, 16407-16411. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201809945.
  5. Du, M. et al, Adv. Mater., 2016, 28, 5963-5968. DOI: 10.1002/adma.201600451.
  6. Congrave, D. G. et al, Inorg. Chem. 2018, 57, 12836-12849. DOI: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.8b02034.
  7. Jiang, Y. et al, Chem. Commun. 2017, 53, 3022-3025. DOI: 10.1039/c7cc00769h. 
  8. Che, W. et al, Chem. Commun. 2018, 54, 1730-1733. DOI: 10.1039/c7cc08832a.
  9. Jiang, N. et al, Chem. Mater. 2020, 32, 5776-5784. DOI: 10.1021/acs.chemmater.0c01620.
  10. O’Driscoll, L. J. et al, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2020, 59, 882-889. DOI 10.1002/anie.201911652.
  11. Liu, J. et al, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2017, 56, 13061-13065. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201707710.
  12. Chen, H. et al, Nanoscale 2020, 12, 15150-15156. DOI: 10.1039/d0nr03303k.
  13. Zieleniewska, A. et al, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020, 142, 18769-18781. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.0c04003.
  14. Yzambart, G. et al, J. Phys. Chem. C 2017, 121, 13557-13569. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.7b03889.
  15. Zhang, L. et al, Chem. Sci. 2020, 11, 2369-2374. DOI: 10.1039/c9sc06310b.
  16. Zhang, L. et al, Chem. Sci. 2021, 12, 5918–5925. DOI: 10.1039/d1sc00126d.

Research interests

  • Molecular Electronics
  • Functional Materials
  • Organic Synthesis


Conference Paper

Journal Article