Research Profile

Donnacha O'Connell

Biography

Dr Donnacha O'Connell is currently a Senior Technical Officer in the School of Chemistry, a position he has held since 1999.
After his secondary education at Coláiste Chríost Rí, Donnacha entered UCC in 1985 to study science and graduated four years later with a BSc (Hons) in Chemistry. He stayed on at UCC and obtained his PhD (1994) working on the chemistry of metallaheteroborane clusters under the supervision of Professor T R Spalding.
Dr O'Connell worked for Janssen Pharmaceuticals for a brief period (1994) before returning to academic research at UCC with Professor James Heffron in Biochemistry, where he was based for four years (1995-1999). The work involved the analysis and profiling of illegal drugs.The project was funded by Forbairt under their Science and Technology against Drugs programme. The results were presented by Donnacha to Forbairt at a meeting in Dublin in 1998 as well as to a meeting of the Irish Mass Spectrometry Society in May 1999, with a paper published in The Analyst in January 2000.
Donnacha has a special interest in Mass Spectrometry and is a European Chemist and a Member of the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland.
 
A brief biography is available in the college courier Issue 142.


Research Interests

Research Interests: Inorganic chemistry Mass Spectrometry and Illicit Drugs  
PhD Thesis title: Studies of rhodium, platinum and palladium derivatives of some arsena-, carba- and telluraboranes.
Supervisor: Professor T. R. Spalding
Abstract: The research described in this thesis involved the synthesis and characterisation of rhodium, platinum and palladium derivatives of arsena-, carba- and telluraboranes. Chapter One summarises the chemistry of group V/15 (excluding nitrogen) heteroboranes and their metal derivatives. Chapter Two describes a theoretical investigation of the electronic structure and bonding of the closely related eleven-vertex nido-heteroborane dianions [7,8-C2B9H11]2- , [7,9-C2B9H11]2-, [1,7-C2B9H11]2-, [4,7-C2B9H11]2-, [7,9-P2B9H9]2- and [7-SB10H10]2-. These compounds were studied with MNDO calculations. Chapter Three is concerned with microwave heating effects and their application to synthetic metallaborane chemistry. This chapter initially reviews the relatively new area of the application of microwave heating effects to synthetic chemistry.  Subsequently the modifications required to enable the safe adaptation of a conventional microwave oven for chemical reactions is described in detail for both low and high pressure systems.  In sealed vessel reactions which generally occur at high pressure, microwave dielectric heating techniques have the ability to reduce the reaction time by a factor of up to 103. Chapter Four is concerned with the synthesis of platinum derivatives of C2B9H11,  As2B9H9, and TeB1oH10  ligands.   Reactions  were carried  out  under  normal  (thermal)  conditions  and  in  the high-pressure  microwave  apparatus described in  chapter three. The products synthesised were three new platinacarboranes, closo-[3,3-(PMe2Ph)2-3,1,2-PtC2B9H11] (1), closo-[2,2-(PMe2Ph)2-2,1,8-PtC2B9H11] (2) and closo-[8-Ph-2,2-(PMe2Ph)2-2, 1,8-PtC2B9H10], and the previously known compounds, closo-[3,3-(PMe2Ph)2-3,1,2-PtAs2B9H9] and closo-[2,2-(PMe2Ph)2-2-1-PtTeB10H10]. Where previously the direct reaction between simple starting materials has been kinetically slow eg. in the present case six days for the reaction of nido-[7,8-C2B9H12]- and cis-[Pt(PMe2Ph)2Cl2], the microwave technique speeds up the process to 30 minutes. This leads not only to a considerable saving in time but also to a marked improvement in the overall reaction yield in certain reactions. The compounds were characterised by IR and NMR spectroscopy and the compounds (1) and (2) were studied by X-ray diffraction methods. An important feature of the NMR spectra of both (1) and (2) were that both compounds were fluxional. Single crystal X-ray analyses of (1) and (2) showed that both compounds had a closo twelve vertex PtC2B9, geometry based on a distorted dodecahedron. From the X-ray determined crystal structure of (1) there were two molecules present in the unit cell which differed primarily in the platinum-carborane cage bond lengths and in the orientation of the platinum phosphine unit above the C2 faces.   The small ΔG* for the rotational process in (1) is of the same order of magnitude as crystal packing forces.  With this low barrier any rotamer could in principle be observed in the solid state.  The compound closo-[2,2-(PMe2 Ph)2-2, l,8-PtC2B9H11] (2)   is  only   the   third  platina­carborane with non-directly bonded carbons in adjacent rings to be fully characterised.  Compounds (1) and (2) provide a useful insight into the mechanism of the thermal rearrangement of icosahedral metallacarboranes and a detailed discussion of possible mechanisms based on data for rearrangements of carboranes is presented. Chapter  Five  describes  the  syntheses  and  characterisation  of  three  new metallaheteroborane  complexes  with  metal  halide  bonds  and  two  new  cationic  complexes. The two rhodium chloride complexes closo-[3,3-(PMePh2)2-3-Cl-3, l ,2- RhC2B9H11] (3) and closo-[3,3-(PMePh2)2-3-Cl-3, l,2-RhAs2B9H9] were synthesised from the reactions between PMePh2, CH2Cl2 and closo-[3-{η2-SC(H)NPh}-3-PPh3-3, l,2-RhC2B9H11] or closo-[3-{η2-SC(H)NPh}-3-PPh3,-3, l,2-RhAs2B9H9]. When the reaction of closo-[3-{η2-SC(H)NPh}-3-PPh3-3, l,2-RhC2B9H11]  was carried out with irradiation provided by a 60 Watt light there was a marked increase in the yield. The reaction of Tl[9-SMe2-7,8-C2B9H10] and [Pd(PPh3)2I2] in refluxing CH2Cl2 resulted in the formation of closo-[3-PPh3-3-I-4-SMe2-3, l,2-PdC2B9H10] (4). Single crystal X-ray analyses of (3) and (4) were carried out to confirm the exact nature of the cluster and exo-cluster ligand bonding. All the above compounds were characterised by spectroscopic methods and elemental analysis.           In Chapter Six ten new isothiocyanate derivatives of rhodaheteroboranes were prepared.  The synthesis and reactivity of twelve-vertex rhodaheteroborane clusters is reviewed. A brief introduction to the reactions of transition metal complexes with RNCS is given.  All of the new compounds were yellow/orange in colour and air-stable and were characterised by spectroscopic methods. In three cases, compounds closo-[3-{η2-S2CN(H)Ph}-3-(PPh3)-3, l ,2-RhAs2B9H9](5), closo-[3-{η2-SC(H)NPh}-3-(PPh3)-3,1,2-RhAs2B9H9] (6) and closo-[2-{η2-S2CN(H)Ph}-2-(PPh3)-2, l-RhTeB10H10] (7), the structures were elucidated by single crystal X-ray analyses.  The successful solution and refinement of the molecular structures (5),(6) and (7) showed that all three compounds had a closo twelve­vertex geometry based on a distorted dodecahedron.  Compounds (5) and (6) are the first reported X-ray crystal structures of rhodaarsenaboranes.  Compound (6) appears to be the first reported {η,2-SC(H)NPh}Rh-containing structure.   Infrared spectra of the compounds contained characteristic bands for the dithiocarbamate complexes which could be distinguished from thioformamido complexes. 13C NMR spectroscopy clearly distinguishes the dithiocarbamate complexes from thioformamido complexes. The X-ray analyses were carried out by Professor George Ferguson and Dr. John Gallagher, University of Guelph, Canada.  The NMR data was collected by Mr. D.  O'Leary, University College, Cork and by Dr.  J. D.  Kennedy, University of Leeds.

O'Connell, D. P. 1994 PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
UCC Library Thesis Link        


Publications

Books

 YearPublication
(1992)Dictionary of Inorganic compounds.
Jane E. Macintyre (1992) Dictionary of Inorganic compounds. London: Chapman and Hall. [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

 YearPublication
(2005)'Twisted [(R3P)PdX] groups above dicarbaborane ligands: 4-dimethylsulfido-3-iodo-3-triphenylphosphine-closo-3-pallada-1,2-dicarbadodecaborane and 3-dimethylphenylphosphine-3-chloro-4-dimethylsulfido-closo-3-pallada-1,2-dicarbadodecaborane'
Ferguson, G;Gallagher, JF;Kennedy, JD;O'Connell, DP;Patterson, JC;Spalding, TR (2005) 'Twisted [(R3P)PdX] groups above dicarbaborane ligands: 4-dimethylsulfido-3-iodo-3-triphenylphosphine-closo-3-pallada-1,2-dicarbadodecaborane and 3-dimethylphenylphosphine-3-chloro-4-dimethylsulfido-closo-3-pallada-1,2-dicarbadodecaborane'. ACTA Crystallography, 61 :393-396 [DOI] [Details]
(2000)'Rapid analysis of illicit drugs by mass spectrometry: results from seizures in Ireland'
O'Connell D, Heffron JJ; (2000) 'Rapid analysis of illicit drugs by mass spectrometry: results from seizures in Ireland'. Analyst, 125 (1):119-121 [Details]
(1996)'Conformational polymorphism and fluxional behaviour of M(PR(3))(2) units in closo-twelve-atom metallaheteroboranes with MX(2)B(9) (X=C or As) and MZB(10) cages (Z=S, Se or Te)'
OConnell, D;Patterson, JC;Spalding, TR;Ferguson, G;Gallagher, JF;Li, YW;Kennedy, JD;Macias, R;ThorntonPett, M;Holub, J (1996) 'Conformational polymorphism and fluxional behaviour of M(PR(3))(2) units in closo-twelve-atom metallaheteroboranes with MX(2)B(9) (X=C or As) and MZB(10) cages (Z=S, Se or Te)'. J. Chem. Soc., Dalton Trans, :3323-3333 [Details]
(1996)'Metallaheteroborane Chemistry. Part 13. Conformational Polymorphism and Fluxional Behaviour of M(PR_3)_2-Units in Closo-Twelve-Atom Metallahetero-Boranes With MX_2B_9 -Cages (X = C or As) and MZB_10-Cages (Z = S, Se, Te) [B312]'
O'Connell, D.; Patterson, J. C.; Spalding, T. R.; Ferguson, G.; Gallagher, J. F.; Li, Y.; Kennedy, J. D.; Macias, R.; Thornton-Pett, M.; Stribr, B.; (1996) 'Metallaheteroborane Chemistry. Part 13. Conformational Polymorphism and Fluxional Behaviour of M(PR_3)_2-Units in Closo-Twelve-Atom Metallahetero-Boranes With MX_2B_9 -Cages (X = C or As) and MZB_10-Cages (Z = S, Se, Te) [B312]'. Journal of The Chemical Society, Dalton Transactions, :3323-3334 [Details]
(1996)'Synthesis and Characterisation of the First Stable Cationic Metallaheteroborane Not to Contain a `Charge-Compensated' Ligand [B313]'
McEneaney, P. E.; O'Connell, D.; Spalding, T. R.; Ferguson, G.; Kennedy, J. D.; Macias, R.; (1996) 'Synthesis and Characterisation of the First Stable Cationic Metallaheteroborane Not to Contain a `Charge-Compensated' Ligand [B313]'. Journal of The Chemical Society - Section D: Chemical Communication, :679-681 [Details]
(1996)'An air-stable, cationic metallacarborane without a charge-compensated carborane ligand'
Ferguson, G;Pollock, J;McEneaney, PA;OConnell, DP;Spalding, TR;Gallagher, JF;Macias, R;Kennedy, JD (1996) 'An air-stable, cationic metallacarborane without a charge-compensated carborane ligand'. Chemical Communications, :679-681 [Details]
(1995)'The Relationship Between the Molecular Structure of [3,3-(PMe_22Ph)_2-{Closo}-3,1,2-PtC_2B_9H_11] and the Mechanism of the Fluxional Behaviour of M(PR_3)_2-Units in {Closo}-Twelve-Atom Metallaheteroboranes [B314]'
O'Connell, D.; Spalding, T. R.; Ferguson, G.; Gallagher, J. F.; Kennedy, J. D.; (1995) 'The Relationship Between the Molecular Structure of [3,3-(PMe_22Ph)_2-{Closo}-3,1,2-PtC_2B_9H_11] and the Mechanism of the Fluxional Behaviour of M(PR_3)_2-Units in {Closo}-Twelve-Atom Metallaheteroboranes [B314]'. Journal of Organometallic Chemistry, 503 :12-16 [Details]
(1994)'Structure of a (Phenyldithiocarbamato)Rhodatelluraborne Compound, [2-$\eta^2$-(S_2CNHPh)-2-(PPh_3)-2,1-RhTeB_10H_10] [B322]'
Ferguson, G.; Gallagher, J. F.; O'Connell, D.; Spalding, T. R.; (1994) 'Structure of a (Phenyldithiocarbamato)Rhodatelluraborne Compound, [2-$\eta^2$-(S_2CNHPh)-2-(PPh_3)-2,1-RhTeB_10H_10] [B322]'. Acta Crystallographica, C50 :1432-1434 [Details]
(1993)'Sterically-Induced Low Temperature Polyhedral Rearrangements of Carbaplatinaboranes [B324]'
Baghurst, D. R.; Copley, R. C. B.; Fleischer, H.; Mingos, D. M. P.; Kyd, G. O.; Yellowlees, L. J.; Welch, A. J.; Spalding, T. R.; O'Connell, D.; (1993) 'Sterically-Induced Low Temperature Polyhedral Rearrangements of Carbaplatinaboranes [B324]'. Journal of Organometallic Chemistry, 447 :C14-C17 [Details]
(1991)'DIIODINATED DERIVATIVES OF 1,2-DIARSENADECARBORANE - AS2B10H8I2'
OCONNELL, D;SPALDING, TR;FERGUSON, G (1991) 'DIIODINATED DERIVATIVES OF 1,2-DIARSENADECARBORANE - AS2B10H8I2'. ACTA Crystallography, 47 :492-495 [Details]

Other Journals

 YearPublication
(2016)'Liquefaction of Air in the Leaving Certificate Chemistry syllabus'
Donnacha O'Connell (2016) 'Liquefaction of Air in the Leaving Certificate Chemistry syllabus' Chemistry In Action, 108 :18-23. [Details]

Professional Activities

Professional Associations

 AssociationFunctionFrom / To
European Chemist EurChem28-OCT-96 /
Society of Chemical Industry Member26-MAR-93 / 31-DEC-10
Royal Society of Chemistry CChem, MRSC05-MAY-93 / 31-DEC-10
Irish Mass Spectrometry Society (IMSS) Member02-MAY-95 / 31-DEC-04
Institute of Chemistry of Ireland Member17-FEB-92 /

Conference Contributions

 YearPublication
(2015)4th Annual BASF Summer School for Secondary Teachers,
Donnacha O'Connell (2015) Liquefaction of Air in the Leaving Certificate Chemistry syllabus. [Invited Seminars/Guest Lectures], 4th Annual BASF Summer School for Secondary Teachers, University College, Cork , 23-JUN-15 - 24-JUN-15. [Details]
(1995)Laboratory based training course on advanced analytical techniques,
Donnacha O'Connell (1995) An introduction to Mass Spectrometry and GC/MS. [Oral Presentation], Laboratory based training course on advanced analytical techniques, University College, Cork , 30-NOV-95 - 30-NOV-95. [Details]
(1999)Irish Mass Spectrometry Society AGM,
Donnacha O'Connell (1999) Chemical analysis of illicit Drugs. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Irish Mass Spectrometry Society AGM, Red Cow Moran Hotel, Dublin , 18-MAY-99 - 18-MAY-99. [Details]
(1999)SAC 99,
Donnacha O'Connell (1999) Chemical analysis of illicit Drugs. [Poster Presentation], SAC 99, DCU, Dublin , 25-JUL-99 - 30-JUL-99. [Details]
(1998)Science and Technology against Drugs workshop,
Donnacha O'Connell (1998) Chemical analysis of illicit Drugs. [Invited Lectures (Conference)], Science and Technology against Drugs workshop, Gresham Hotel, Dublin , 19-NOV-98 - 19-NOV-98. [Details]
(1993)45th Irish Universities Colloquium,
Donnacha O'Connell (1993) Microwave heating effects and their contribution to synthetic chemistry. [Oral Presentation], 45th Irish Universities Colloquium, Cork , 19-MAY-93 - 21-MAY-93. [Details]

Committees

 CommitteeFunctionFrom / To
University Technical Services Committee Technical Representative2017 /
SIPTU Representative Group (SRG) Technical Representative2012 /
Chemistry Department Committee Technical Representative2011 / 2017
SEFS College Council Chemistry Technical representative2008 / 2018
Faculty of Science Technical Representative2007 /
University Safety Representative Safety Representative for the Central Constituency2005 /
School of Chemistry Safety Advisory Committee Technical Representative2003 / 2018

Employment

 EmployerPositionFrom / To
School of Chemistry Senior Technical Officer03-AUG-99 /
Janssen Pharmaceuticals Process Development Chemist03-MAY-94 / 31-JAN-95
Department of Biochemistry Post Doctoral Research Assistant03-MAY-95 / 30-JUL-99

Education

 YearInstitutionQualificationSubject
1989University College Cork BScChemistry
1994University College Cork PhDInorganic Chemistry

Outreach Activities

 Description

Outreach involvement with Dr. Declan Kennedy presenting the Chemistry Magic Show

Outreach involvement with Dr. Eric Moore at the Carnival of Science

Teaching Activities

Teaching Interests

Undergraduate Inorganic Chemistry Practicals for 2nd years (CM2001, CM2005 and CM2007)

Undergraduate Inorganic Chemistry Practicals for 3rd years (CM3110, CM3021 and CM3025)

Contact details


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