Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2022

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Jeremy J. Kodanko


Photochemical tools empower researchers to act with precision and control over the cellular environment through production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), targeted drug delivery, and modulation of enzymatic activity. These molecular tools use light as a readily available, biorthogonal reagent for initiating advantageous light-activated reactions. Using light in this way allows researchers to affect the cellular environment in specific ways with high spatio-temporal control. This dissertation focuses on expanding the applications of, mostly Ru(II)-based, photoactivated chemicals. Complexes of this type are able to act as photosensitizers in photodynamic therapy (PDT), as photocages (PCT), or as dual-action compounds capable of both PDT and PCT. Five projects were carried out in this work, and while the specifics differ from project to project, we can derive lessons from the collective work and apply it to the field as a whole. In this work, due to physical limitations in ligand construction, the capacity of the applied Ru(II) polypyridyl complexes to act as efficient photosensitizers. The Ru(II) complexes applied here have, however, displayed excellent capacity to act as photocages, both singularly and as a component in dualaction complexes. Optimization of Ru(II) complexes for photocaging consequential ligands is a research area ripe for innovation.