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Transduction Science lies at the physiochemical/biological interface and aims to translate the presence of disease biomarkers into a measurable signal. A key objective is to develop novel materials and combinations of electrochemical and photophysical approaches so detect low concentrations of targets in sample volumes within short periods of time. This objective drives us to develop novel metallopolymers, transition metal complexes and plasmonic composites that show an enhanced electrochemical or photonic signal upon interaction with the biomarker of interest. Targets include proteins, amino acids, DNA, peptides and antibodies. The work of RP3 also extends to the design and development of novel nano-structured surfaces and devices for the enhancement of both electrochemical and photonic signals.

Key techniques:

  • Electrochemistry
  • Fluorescence imaging
  • Time correlated single photon counting
  • Transient spectroscopy
  • Metal enhanced fluorescence
  • Electrochemiluminescence (ECL)
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS)
  • Scanning electron microscopy (SEM)
  • Monolayer and thin film formation
  • Antibody labelling

  • Devadoss, A., Spehar-Deleze, A.-M., Tanner, D.A., Bertoncello, P., Marthi, R., Keyes, T.E. & Forster, R.J. (2010) Enhanced Electrochemiluminescence and Charge Transport Through Thin Films of Metallopolymer-Gold Nanoparticle Composites. Langmuir, 26 (3), pp 2130–2135.

  • Forster, R.J., Bertoncello, P. & Keyes, T.E. (2009) Electrogenerated Chemiluminescence. Annual Review of Analytical Chemistry, 2, 359-385. (July)

  • Spehar-Délèze, A-M., Pellegrin Y., Keyes T.E. (2008) Electrochemiluminescent metallopolymers: Tuning the emission wavelength by energy transfer between two bound centres. Electrochemistry Communications, 10 (7), 984-6. (July)

  • Walsh, G., Leane, D., Moran, N., Keyes, T., Forster, R., Kenny, D. & O’Neill, S. (2007) S-nitrosylation of platelet alpha(IIb)beta(3) as revealed by Raman spectroscopy. Biochemistry, 46, 6429-6436. (May)

  • Forster, R.J., Brennan, J.L. & Keyes, T.E. (2006) Photonic and Electrochemical Properties of Absorbed [Ru(dpp)2(Qbpy)]2+ Luminophores. Invited paper in Langmuir Special Issue on Electrochemistry, 22 (25), 10754-10761. (September)

  • Dennany, L., O’Reilly, E., Forster, R.J. (2006) Electrochemiluminescent monolayers on metal oxide electrodes: Detection of amino acids. Electrochem. Commun., 2006, 8 (10), 1588-1594. (October)
  • Intellectual Property information is available here.




Prof. Robert Forster B.Sc., Ph.D. (DCU), C.Chem
Professor, Physical Chemistry

Forster has held a Personal Chair in the School of Chemical Sciences since 2004, one of three of the first such appointments made at Dublin City University. From 2004 to 2007 he served as Associate Dean of the Faculty of Science and Health with responsibility for developing the faculty's research strategy.

From November 2001 to September 2002 he acted as Interim Dean of Research with overall responsibility for the preparation, communication and implementation of research policy across DCU. Having joined DCU as a lecturer in 1994 he was promoted to Associate Professor of Physical Chemistry in 2000. His research, described in more than 130 refereed publications, is highly interdisciplinary and combines interfacial supramolecular assemblies, photonics, electrochemistry and imaging to create organised materials with useful photonic and electrochemical properties.

His group have produced some of the world’s smallest and most rapidly responding ultramicroelectrodes with response times as short as 5 nanoseconds, i.e., more than 100,000 times shorter than conventional systems. These electrodes have been used to directly probe the electron transfer dynamics of electronically excited species using megavolt per second cyclic voltammetry for the first time and to develop ultralow volume nucleic acid sensors.