Dr Robert Edkins

Strathclyde Chancellor's Fellow

Pure and Applied Chemistry

Personal statement


Bob studied at Durham University for his MChem (2009) and PhD (2013, with Prof. Andrew Beeby). He then held Alexander von Humboldt [Julius-Maximilians-Universit├Ąt W├╝rzburg with Prof. Todd Marder] and Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 [University of Oxford with Prof. Stephen Faulkner] Fellowships.

In 2018 he joined the University of Strathclyde as a Chancellor's Fellow and Lecturer in Chemistry.

Research Interests

We are interested in the design, synthesis, photophysics, and applications of conjugated materials with uses ranging from fluorescent dyes in super-resolution microscopy to photosensitizers for phototherapy. See Research Interests tab for further details.

Committee Membership

Bob is Secretary of the RSC Photophysics and Photochemistry Group and member of the SCI Young Chemists' Panel and the RSC Glasgow and West of Scotland Local Section Committees.


Has expertise in:

    We design conjugated molecules for a range of applications and have capabilities for their air-free synthesis and characterisation.

    In addition to extensive experience in steady-state absorption and emission spectroscopy across the visible and near-infrared regions, we have experience in time-resolved fluorescence measurements (TCSPC, TAS), including capabilities for variable temperature measurements (77-373 K). Our work is often underpinned by other methods including electrochemistry and DFT/TD-DFT calculations.

    We are also involved in several collaborative projects accessing central facilities for neutron spectroscopy [ISIS and ILL] and (super-resolution) fluorescence microscopy [ESRIC and Central Laser Facility].

    We are always interested in establishing new collaborations with academics or industry.


Iridium-catalysed 3,5-bis-borylation of phthalonitrile enables access to a family of C4h octaarylphthalocyanines
Mulholland Katie D, Yoon Sangbin, Rennie Christopher C, Sitch Eleanor K, McKay Alasdair I, Edkins Katharina, Edkins Robert M
Chemical Communications Vol 56, pp. 8452-8455 (2020)
The modifying effect of supramolecular gel fibres on the diffusion of paracetamol and ibuprofen sodium on the picosecond timescale
Edkins Robert M, Appel Markus, Seydel Tilo, Edkins Katharina
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics Vol 22, pp. 10838-10844 (2020)
Self-assembly of minimal peptoid sequences
Castelletto Valeria, Seitsonen Jani, Tewari Kunal M, Hasan Abshar, Edkins Robert M, Ruokolainen Janne, Pandey Lalit M, Hamley Ian W, Lau King Hang Aaron
ACS Macro Letters Vol 9, pp. 494-499 (2020)
The effect of branching on the one- and two-photon absorption, cell viability and localization of cationic triarylborane chromophores with dipolar vs. octupolar charge distributions for cellular imaging
Griesbeck Stefanie, Michail Evripidis, Rauch Florian, Ogasawara Hiroaki, Wang Chenguang, Sato Yoshikatsu, Edkins Robert, Zhang Zuolun, Taki Masayasu, Lambert Christoph, Yamaguchi Shigehiro, Marder Todd B
Chemistry - A European Journal Vol 25, pp. 13164-13175 (2019)
Picosecond self-diffusion in ethanol-water mixtures
Seydel Tilo, Edkins Robert M, Edkins Katharina
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics Vol 21, pp. 9547-9552 (2019)
Increased rate of solvent diffusion in a prototypical supramolecular gel measured on the picosecond timescale
Seydel Tilo, Edkins Robert M, Jones Christopher D, Foster Jonathan A, Bewley Robert, Aguilar Juan A, Edkins Katharina

More publications

Research interests


We are interested in the excited-state properties of molecular materials in condensed phases, both from a fundamental viewpoint and for applications in light-emitting devices, solar-energy harvesting, bio-imaging and phototherapies. Our work combines synthetic chemistry, optical spectroscopy, and theoretical calculations.

We have experience with a wide range of materials, including transition metal complexes (in particular those of rhodium and iridium), main-group compounds (particularly phosphorus- and boron-based), lanthanide complexes, and organic chromophores, such as pyrene derivatives. We also have a strong interest in two-photon absorption spectroscopy, including the design of new materials with large two-photon absorption cross-sections, and in near-infrared emission.

On-going Projects

Our most recent work has focussed on the development of fluorescent dyes for super-resolution microscopy (particularly STED and STORM), fluorescent probes for reactive oxygen species, and photosensitizers for phototherapy of cancer. We are also exploring new synthetic routes for functionalized phthalocyanines.

Industry Engagement

We are always interested to hear from potential industry partners. If you have a project in mind that includes the development, synthesis, characterization or application of conjugated or light-emitting molecules, please contact Bob by email to discuss how our research may help you.

Professional activities

Exciting developments in photochemistry and electrochemistry for synthesis
EPSRC grant review
RSC Photophysics & Photochemistry Group Early Career Members Meeting
Boron-based dyes for two-photon microscopy
Synthesis and Photophysics of High-Symmetry Phthalocyanines

More professional activities


Industrial Case Account - University of Strathclyde 2020 | Braddick, Henry
Tomkinson, Nick (Principal Investigator) Edkins, Robert (Co-investigator) Braddick, Henry (Research Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 01-Jan-2024
Development of a long-lifetime dye for gated-STED microscopy
Edkins, Robert (Principal Investigator) Pickard, Ben (Co-investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 31-Jan-2021
Development of a turn-on fluorescent probe of trehalose: towards a rapid sensor of Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Edkins, Robert (Principal Investigator)
29-Jan-2020 - 21-Jan-2020
Diffusion dynamics in supramolecular gels measured on complementary length scales by FCS and FRAP
Edkins, Robert (Principal Investigator) Edkins, Katharina (Co-investigator) Botchway, Stanley (Co-investigator) Seydel, Tilo (Co-investigator) de la Silva, Jorge (Co-investigator)
Optimized Fluorescent Dyes for Gated Stimulated-Emission-Depletion Live-Cell Microscopy
Edkins, Robert (Principal Investigator)
09-Jan-2020 - 08-Jan-2022
Development of novel protein tags for correlated localisation in live-cell super-resolution fluorescence and electron microscopies.
Edkins, Robert (Principal Investigator)
01-Jan-2020 - 31-Jan-2022

More projects


Pure and Applied Chemistry
Thomas Graham Building

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