Ana de Bettencourt-Dias

Susan Magee and Gary Clemons Professor of Chemistry
Ana de Bettencourt-Dias

Contact Information


  • Licenciatura (1993), University of Lisbon, Portugal
  • Dr. rer. nat. (1997), magna cum laude, University of Cologne, Germany (Thomas Kruck)
  • Gulbenkian Postdoctoral Fellow (1998-2001), University of California, Davis (Alan L. Balch)

Research Interests

The luminescence of lanthanide ions has applications from display applications to bioimaging and sensing. The emission of light by these ions arises from f-f transitions, which are forbidden by selection rules. To achieve efficient light emission ligands are utilized, which absorb energy and transfer this energy through a sequence of steps to the coordinated lanthanide ion.
lanthanide ionABD research image

Our group is interested in developing new ligands for highly emissive lanthanide ion complexes. We synthesize the ligands and the metal complexes and then characterize with different spectroscopic methods, such as single crystal X-ray diffraction, and absorption, excitation and emission spectroscopy. The ligands targeted in our group are organic or transition metal complexes. Emission is pursued for several different lanthanide ions, with emission in the visible or the near-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum.
electromagnetic spectrum

Students in our group learn the principles of organic synthesis and molecular design, as well as the synthesis of metal complexes and isolation of X-ray quality single crystals. Further, they have the opportunity to learn X-ray single crystal diffraction, as well as vibrational, absorption, excitation, emission and NMR spectroscopy.


  • de Bettencourt-Dias, A., Tigaa, R.A., ‘Sensitized NIR-emission of NdIII and YbIII by water-soluble and bandgap tunable 3-MPA capped CdS NPs' Journal of Materials Chemistry C 2018 6, 2814-2821.
  • Monteiro, J.H.S.K., Machado, D., de Hollanda, L.M., Sigoli, F.A., de Bettencourt-Dias, A., 'Selective cytotoxicity and fluorescence imaging of cancer cells with dipicolinato-based EuIII complex' Chemical Communications 2017 53, 11818-11821.
  • Tigaa, R.A., Aerken, X. Fuchs, A., de Bettencourt-Dias, A. 'Coordination and sensitization of EuIII and TbIII ions by functionalized polycarbonate-based materials' European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry 2017 44, 5310-5317.
  • Tigaa, R.A., Lucas, G.J., de Bettencourt-Dias, A. 'ZnS Nanoparticles Sensitize Luminescence of Capping-Ligand-Bound Lanthanide Ions' Inorganic Chemistry 2017 56, 3260-3268.
  • Monteiro, J.H.S.K., de Bettencourt-Dias, A., Sigoli, F.A. 'Estimating the Donor-Acceptor Distance To Tune the Emission Efficiency of Luminescent Lanthanide Compounds' Inorganic Chemistry 2017 56, 709-712.
  • Bosshard, G.Z., Brito, G.A., Monteiro, J.H.S.K., de Bettencourt-Dias, A., Mazali, I.O., Sigoli, F.A. ‘Photophysical properties of asymmetric and water-soluble dinuclear lanthanide complexes of poly glycol chain functionalized benzoic acid derivative: Experimental and theoretical approaches' RSC Advances 2016 6, 101133-101141.
  • Hammoud, H., de Bettencourt-Dias, A., Monteiro, J.H.S.K., Rossini, J.S., Schmitt, M., Bourguignon, J.-J., Welter, R., Mameri, S. ‘Unusual O-Bridged Symmetric Quinoline-Based Ligand for the Formation of Luminescent Mono-Aqua Lanthanide Complexes' ChemSelect 2016, 1, 16618-6622.
  • de Bettencourt-Dias, A., Rossini, J.S.K., ‘Ligand Design for Luminescent Lanthanide-Containing Metallopolymers' Inorganic Chemistry 2016 55, 9954-9963.
  • Monteiro, J.H.S.K.; de Bettencourt-Dias, A.; Mazali, I.O.; Sigoli, F.A.  The effect of 4-​halogenobenzoate ligands on luminescent and structural properties of lanthanide complexes: experimental and theoretical approaches.  New J. Chem. 2015, 39, 1883-1891.
  • de Bettencourt-Dias, A.; Barber, P.S.; Viswanathan, S.  Aromatic N-​donor ligands as chelators and sensitizers of lanthanide ion emission.  Coord. Chem. Rev. 2014, 273-274, 165-200.
  • Ouizem, S.; Rosario-Amorin, D.; Dickie, D.A.; Paine, R.T.; de Bettencourt-Dias, A.; Hay, B.P.; Podair, J.; Delmau, L.H.  Synthesis and f-​element ligation properties of NCMPO-​decorated pyridine N-​oxide platforms.  Dalton Trans. 2014, 43, 8368-8386.
  • Huang, L.; Zhu, X.; Publicover, N.G.; Hunter, K.W.; Ahmadiantehrani, M.; de Bettencourt-Dias, A.; Bell, T.W.  Cadmium- and zinc-​alloyed Cu-​In-​S nanocrystals and their optical properties.  J. Nanopart. Res. 2013, 15, 2056/1-2056/10, 10 pp.
  • Makhinson, B.; Duncan, A.K.; Elam, A.R.; de Bettencourt-Dias, A.; Medley, C.D.; Smith, J.E.; Werner, E.J.  Turning on Lanthanide Luminescence via Nanoencapsulation.  Inorg. Chem. 2013, 52, 6311-6318.
  • Rosario-Amorin, D.; Ouizem, S.; Dickie, D.A.; Wen, Y.; Paine, R.T.; Gao, J.; Grey, J.K.; de Bettencourt-Dias, A.; Hay, B.P.; Delmau, L.H.  Synthesis, Lanthanide Coordination Chemistry, and Liquid-​Liquid Extraction Performance of CMPO-​Decorated Pyridine and Pyridine N-​Oxide Platforms.  Inorg. Chem. 2013, 52, 3063-3083.
  • de Bettencourt-Dias, A.  The electronic structure of the lanthanides.  Rare Earth Elem. 2012, 27-34.
  • de Bettencourt-Dias, A.; Bauer, S.; Viswanathan, S.; Maull, B.C.; Ako, A.M.  Unusual nitro-coordination of Eu(III) and Tb(III) with pyridinyl ligands.  Dalton Trans. 2012, 41, 11212-11218.
  • de Bettencourt-Dias, A.; Barber, P.S.; Bauer, S.  A water-soluble pybox derivative and its highly luminescent lanthanide ion complexes.  J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 6987-6994.
  • de Bettencourt-Dias, A.; Zimmerman, J.R.  New k1,k1-benzoato-bridged complexes of Eu(III) and Tb(III) with a triazine-benzamide ligand.  Main Group Chem. 2012, 11, 31-44.
  • Knope, K.E.; de Lill, D.T.; Rowland, C.E.; Cantos, P.M.; de Bettencourt-Dias, A.; Cahill, C.L.  Uranyl sensitization of samarium(III) luminescence in a two-dimensional coordination polymer.  Inorg. Chem. 2012, 51, 201-206.
  • Zimmerman, J.R.; de Bettencourt-Dias, A.  Homobinuclear sulfato-bridged and mononuclear nitrato complexes of Cu(II) with thiophen-2-yl-dipicolylamine:  Structure and anion-dependent absorption spectra.  Inorg. Chem. Commun. 2011, 14, 753-758.
  • de Bettencourt-Dias, A.; Barber, P.S.; Viswanathan, S.; de Lill, D.T.; Rollett, A.; Ling, G.; Altun, S.  Para-derivatized Pybox ligands as sensitizers in highly luminescent Ln(III) complexes.  Inorg. Chem. 2010, 49, 8848-8861.
  • de Bettencourt-Dias, A.; Barber, P.S.  An oxazoline derivatized Pybox ligand for Eu(III) and Tb(III) sensitization.  C. R. Chim. 2010, 13, 691-699.
  • de Bettencourt-Dias, A.; Viswanathan, S.; Rollett, A.  Thiophene-derivatized Pybox and its highly luminescent lanthanide ion complexes.  J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2007, 129, 15436-15437.
  • de Bettencourt-Dias, A.  Lanthanide-based emitting materials in light-emitting diodes.  Dalton Trans. 2007, 2229-2241.
  • de Bettencourt-Dias, A.  Small molecule luminescent lanthanide ion complexes - Photophysical characterization and recent developments.  Curr. Org. Chem. 2007, 11, 1460-1480.
  • de Bettencourt-Dias, A.; Poloukhtine, A.  Phenylthiophene-dipicolinic acid-based with strong solution blue and solid state green emission.  J. Phys. Chem. B 2006, 110, 25638-25645.
  • Viswanathan, S.; de Bettencourt-Dias, A.  Eu(III) and Tb(III) luminescence sensitized by thiophenyl-derivatized nitrobenzoato antennas.  Inorg. Chem. 2006, 45, 10138-10146.
  • de Bettencourt-Dias, A.; Viswanathan, S.  Nitro-functionalization and quantum yield of Eu(III) and Tb(III) benzoic acid complexes.  Dalton Trans. 2006, 4093-4103.
  • Viswanathan, S.; de Bettencourt-Dias, A.  2-Chloro-5-nitrobenzoato complexes of Eu(III) and Tb(III) - A 1 D coordination polymer and enhanced solution luminescence.  Inorg. Chem. Commun. 2006, 9, 444-448.
  • de Bettencourt-Dias, A.; Viswanathan, S.; Ruddy, K.  Intermolecular forces and functional group effects in the packing structure of thiophene derivatives.  Cryst. Growth Des. 2005, 5, 1477-1484.
  • de Bettencourt-Dias, A.  New isophthalato-based 2D coordination polymers of Eu(III), Gd(III), and Tb(III) - Enhancement of the terbium-centered luminescence through thiophene derivatization.  Inorg. Chem. 2005, 44, 2734-2741.
  • de Bettencourt-Dias, A.; Viswanathan, S.  Luminescent nitrobenzoato complexes of Ln3+:  First examples of sensitization of green and red emission.  Chem. Commun. (Cambridge, U.K.) 2004, 8, 1024-1025.