Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems

Photoactive Organic Materials

The Photoactive Organic Materials research team, led by Academy of Finland Research Fellow Eduardo Anaya, focuses on synthesis of optically active small molecules and subsequent (bio)conjugation into light-management materials. We are interested in applications ranging from solar energy conversion, illumination technologies and light-induced therapies in nanomedicine. The research team have a strong organic synthetic background that, with a multidisciplinary approach, place us at the interface between chemistry, physics and biology.
Photo of the Photactive Organic Materials group
Photo of the Photoactive Organic Materials group, Summer 2023 by Fotoni Film & Communication

Latest news

Dean Kruus

Chem Awards 2022 are chosen

The School of Chemical Engineering rewards outstanding individuals and teams during the year.

Eduardo Anaya pelaa rugbya, kuva: Aki-Pekka Sinikoski

Introducing... Eduardo Anaya Plaza (external link)

A new type of profile focusing on first-time corresponding authors. With hundreds of such authors a year, there are many new faces to celebrate.

Koeputkia, joissa on eri värisiä nesteitä.

A greener route to blue – a new method drastically reduces the amount of solvent needed to produce widely used organic dyes

Phthalocyanines dyes can be produced with solid-state synthesis instead of high-boiling organic solvents.


Research topics

  1. Organic synthesis of photoactive molecular and supramolecular materials
  2. Development of biohybrid systems for light-induced therapies
  3. Synthesis of light-activated self-sterilizing materials
  4. Energy conversion technologies
  5. Green chemistry of dyes
Photo shows a gloved hand holding a small container of colored liquid, with two similar containers of different colors in the background.
Photo of solvatochromic dyes by Fotoni Film & Communication

Ongoing research projects

Photoactive protein cage biohybrids for light-induced applications

Funded by the Academy of Finland during September 2021 through August 2026, the Photocage project aims to develop a set of high-end materials based on the encapsulation of highly-emitting fluorophores within protein cages.

The core of this project lies in the thorough design, synthesis and study of organic molecules, and the study of the delicate interplay that governs their behaviour in solution, leading to enhanced properties and interaction with the media. Advanced properties, such as generation of singlet oxygen, will be obtained through chemical design. The fundamental knowledge generated will set a novel path toward multimodal and interdisciplinary compounds with potential applications in a broad range of fields like light emitting devices or nanomedicine.


Related publications


Light-mediated self-sterilizing composite cellulosic materials

This project aims to develop self-sterilizing, yet biodegradable, materials, by merging the photoinactivation properties of organic photosensitizers with mechanical properties of cellulose. The team expects that the photoantimicrobial composite film coatings can be applied on various surfaces and utilized in packaging, filters or masks. This project is a collaboration between the Biohybrid Materials group and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, funded by the FinnCERES Flagship of the Academy of Finland.


Related publications

Past research projects

BioHybrid Optoelectronic Materials

BiHyOMat is an ambitious research project at the interface of chemistry, physics and biology, aiming to produce novel high-end materials for medical and environmental applications. The reversible conjugation of proteins and light absorbing molecules combine the biocompatibility and defined structure of the former with the light-induced properties of the later. In particular, fluorescence and generated of reactive oxygen species have extensive application in sensors, photodynamic therapy or waste-water treatment. This project was funded under the H2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions – Individual Fellowship.


Related publications:


Simultaneous Organic and Inorganic Host-Guest Chemistry within Pillararene-Protein Cage Frameworks

Ahmed Shaukat, Eduardo Anaya-Plaza, Ngong Kodiah Beyeh, Mauri A. Kostiainen 2022 Chemistry - A European Journal

Biomolecule-Directed Carbon Nanotube Self-Assembly

Eduardo Anaya-Plaza, Ahmed Shaukat, Inka Lehtonen, Mauri A. Kostiainen 2021 ADVANCED HEALTHCARE MATERIALS

A Janus-Type Phthalocyanine for the Assembly of Photoactive DNA Origami Coatings

Asma Rahali, Ahmed Shaukat, Verónica Almeida-Marrero, Bassem Jamoussi, Andrés de la Escosura, Tomás Torres, Mauri A. Kostiainen, Eduardo Anaya-Plaza 2021 Bioconjugate Chemistry

Synergy of Electrostatic and π–π Interactions in the Realization of Nanoscale Artificial Photosynthetic Model Systems

Eduardo Anaya-Plaza, Jan Joseph, Stefan Bauroth, Maximilian Wagner, Christian Dolle, Michael Sekita, Franziska Gröhn, Erdmann Spiecker, Timothy Clark, Andrés de la Escosura, Dirk M. Guldi, Tomás Torres 2020 Angewandte Chemie - International Edition

Phthalocyanine–DNA origami complexes with enhanced stability and optical properties

Ahmed Shaukat, Eduardo Anaya-Plaza, Sofia Julin, Veikko Linko, Tomas Torres, Andrés de la Escosura, Mauri A. Kostiainen 2020 Chemical Communications

Phthalocyanine–Virus Nanofibers as Heterogeneous Catalysts for Continuous-Flow Photo-Oxidation Processes

Eduardo Anaya-Plaza, Ana Aljarilla, Grégory Beaune, Jaakko V.I. Timonen, Andrés de la Escosura, Tomás Torres, Mauri A. Kostiainen 2019 Advanced Materials

Highly ordered protein cage assemblies


Porphyrinoid biohybrid materials as an emerging toolbox for biomedical light management

Verónica Almeida-Marrero, Eveline van de Winckel, Eduardo Anaya-Plaza, Tomás Torres, Andrés de la Escosura 2018 Chemical Society Reviews

Photoantimicrobial Biohybrids by Supramolecular Immobilization of Cationic Phthalocyanines onto Cellulose Nanocrystals

Eduardo Anaya-Plaza, Eveline van de Winckel, Joona Mikkilä, Jani Markus Malho, Olli Ikkala, Oscar Gulías, Roger Bresolí-Obach, Montserrat Agut, Santi Nonell, Tomás Torres, Mauri A. Kostiainen, Andrés de la Escosura 2017 CHEMISTRY: A EUROPEAN JOURNAL

Hierarchical Organization of Organic Dyes and Protein Cages into Photoactive Crystals

Joona Mikkilä, Eduardo Anaya-Plaza, Ville Liljeström, Jose R. Caston, Tomas Torres, Andres de la Escosura, Mauri A. Kostiainen 2016 ACS Nano
More information on our research in the Research database.
Research database

Related research and articles

Biohybrid Materials

Group led by Professor Mauri Kostiainen

CCMV AuNP lattice

A sport for gentleman thugs

Rugby is a tough contact sport that requires players to absorb constant hits while maintaining absolute trust in their teammates in every situation – not unlike research work.

Kolme miestä pelaamassa rugbyä, kuva: Aki-Pekka Sinikoski

News and events

Kolme miestä pelaamassa rugbyä, kuva: Aki-Pekka Sinikoski

A sport for gentleman thugs

Rugby is a tough contact sport that requires players to absorb constant hits while maintaining absolute trust in their teammates in every situation – not unlike research work.

Photoactive rod-like virus bundle schematic

Dyes and viruses create new composite material for photooxidation reactions

A recent study shows that native viruses can be employed as a scaffold to immobilise photoactive molecules to potentially oxidise organic pollutants present in wastewater, under visible light irradiation

  • Published:
  • Updated:
URL copied!