Mike Cook


  • 0.31 Chemistry

Personal profile


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Professional career

First appointment at UEA 1967, Professor of Chemistry since 1994.

Mike has published more than 250 articles, principally peer reviewed research papers but also various invited book chapters, reviews, patents and patent applications. About 70% of these are concerned with research into the chemistry and applications of phthalocyanines and related macrocycles, a research area he entered about 30 years ago. He is an established international figure in phthalocyanine research and through CEC contracts and other opportunities his research group has collaborated with other major phthalocyanine groups in Europe. He also has research collaborations with groups in Japan and South Africa. He has co-organised or served on organising committees of a number of major international conferences on phthalocyanines and materials chemistry and in particular the Edinburgh Conference on Phthalocyanines in 1998 which was a catalyst for setting up the successful series of biennial International Conferences on Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines, ICPP. These have been held in Dijon 2000, Kyoto 2002, New Orleans 2004, Rome 2006, Moscow 2009, Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico 2010, Jeju Island, Korea 2012. He has given either plenary or invited lectures at all of these and has also been a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines since its inception in 1997. In addition he has served on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Materials Chemistry. Recent invited international lectures have been given at York University Toronto (2009), 2nd Georgian Bay International Conference on Bioinorganic Chemistry, Ontario (2009), Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences (2010), Beijing Jiaotong University (2010) and Osaka University (2013). He has also been a Visiting Professor at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, and was the 2006 Barker Lecturer at Rhodes University, Grahamstown.

Selected Publications

Routes to some 3,6-disubstituted phthalonitriles and examples of phthalocyanines derived therefrom. An overview

M. J. Heeney, S. A. Al-Raqa, A. Auger, P. M. Burnham, A. N. Cammidge, I. Chambrier, M. J. Cook. J. Porphyrins Phthalocyanines 2013, 17, 649-664.
DOI: 10.1142/S108842461330005X

Synthesis, characterisation, MCD spectroscopy and TD-DFT calculations of copper metallated non-peripherally substituted octa-octyl derivatives of tetrabenzotriazaporphyrin, cis and trans tetrabenzodiazaporphyrin, tetrabenzomonoazaporphyrin and tetrabenzoporphyrin
J. Mack, L. Sosa-Vargas, S. J. Coles, G. J. Tizzard, I. Chambrier, A. N. Cammidge, M. J. Cook. N. Kobayashi. Inorg. Chem., 2012, 51, 12820-12833.
DOI: 10.1021/ic301712h

Targeting the Oncofetal Thomsen-Friedenreich Disaccharide Using Jacalin-PEG Phthalocyanine Gold Nanoparticles for Photodynamic Cancer Therapy.
G. Obaid, I. Chambrier, M. J. Cook, D. A. Russell. Angew. Chemie Int. Ed., 2012, 51, 6158-6162.

Phthalocyanine analogues: unexpectedly facile access to non-peripherally substituted octa-alkyl tetrabenzotriazaporphyrins, tetrabenzodiazaporphyrins, tetrabenzomonoazaporphyrins and tetrabenzoporphyrins
A. N. Cammidge, I. Chambrier, M. J. Cook, D. L. Hughes, M. Rahman, L Sosa-Vargas, Chem. Eur. J. 2011, 17, 3136-3146.
DOI: 10.1002/chem.201002176

Key Research Interests

Discovery of bis cadmium tris phthalocyanines – a new class of functional materials

We recently discovered the first example of a ‘triple decker sandwich’ structure containing an M(II) metal. The structure, a Cd(II) derivative, was characterised by X-ray crystallography, see inset diagram. It is a remarkable compound because the macrocycle is a 2- ligand and Cd is a 2+ cation. Thus there is a formal charge imbalance that poses both a structural and a redox dilemma. Cyclic voltametry reveals fascinating redox properties founded on a complex series of one electron transfer states and epr spectroscopy reveals that the material exists in solution, in part, as a structure with spin ½. Free radical phthalocyanines are rare and those that are known are molecular semiconductors. Preliminary conductivity studies of the compound reveal an unprecedented voltage and temperature dependent conductivity, see second inset. The phenomenon which shows an enhanced conductivity at a particular applied voltage and over a limited temperature range suggests that the compound could serve as a molecular electrical and/or temperature switch. In depth studies of this behaviour, first investigated by Professor Asim Ray’s group (QMUL, and formerly at Sheffield Hallam) are now being taken forward in a new collaboration with a Japanese group. Conditions under which other examples of this new class of functional material are formed are now subject to systematic investigation.


EPSRC, Iceni fund, UEA


Dr Anirban Bandyopadhayay, National Institute of Materials Science, Japan

Professor J. C. Swarts, University of the Free state, RSA

Patent application:

Macrocyclic cadmium complexes,

M. J. Cook, I. Chambrier, and B. Isare, WO 2005/105820 A2, publication date 10.11.2005

Illustrative publication:

First example of a di-cadmium tris-phthalocyanine triple decker sandwich compound

I. Chambrier, D.L. Hughes, J.C. Swarts, B. Isare, M.J. Cook

Chemical Communications, 2006, in press

Chemistry and physics of lead phthalocyanines

Our interest in substituted lead phthalocyanines commenced during a program of research into optical limiters where heavy metal facilated intersystem crossing to the excited T1 state is important. This work indirectly led to a renewed interest in near infrared absorbers and the first publication of a red phthalocyanine, a lead phthalocyanine derivative that exhibits a Q-band well into the near ir and weaker absorptions in the visible. Single crystal X-ray studies of this and two other lead Pc derivatives reveal different degrees of ring distortion and displacement of the lead from the central plane of the ring. For two of our samples we observe lability of the lead and we are exploiting this by displacing it from the ring using H2S. The resulting formulation is a metal free phthalocyanine containing lead sulfide nanoparticles. We are collaborating with Prof. Asim Ray’s group who, apart from confirming the findings above, are investigating electrical properties of films of these materials, discovering to date an interesting memory effect.

Saddle conformation of octahexyl lead phthalocyanine


EPSRC DTA studentships; NATO fellowship; Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate USA


Professor Asim K. Ray, Materials Centre, QMUL

Illustrative publications:

Structural characterisation of a red phthalocyanine

P.M. Burnham, M.J. Cook, L.A. Gerrard, M.J. Heeney, D.L. Hughes

Chemical Commununications, 2003, 2064-2065

Ring deformation and solid state packing of three 1,4,8,11,15,18,22,25-octasubstituted phthalocyaninato lead derivatives.

P. M. Burnham, I. Chambrier, D. L. Hughes, B. Isare, R. J. Poynter, A. K. Powell and M. J. Cook, Journal of Porphyrins & Phthalocyanines, submitted

Lead sulphide/phthalocyanine nanocomposite spun films.

A. V. Nabok, A. K. Ray, M. J. Cook, P. M. Burnham, Iwantono, H. Yanuar, M. Simmonds and T. V. Basova

IEEE Transactions on Nanotechnology, 2004, 3, 388-394

Phthalocyanine related macrocycles

A recently commenced project undertaken in collaboration with Dr Andrew Cammidge at UEA is focussing on macrocycles that are structurally similar to phthalocyanines but differ in having one or more of the ‘meso’ N atoms replaced by methane units. Interest in this area commenced with an investigation of a side product during a standard phthalocyanine synthesis. The side product was identified as a triazatetrabenzoporphyrin in which one of the N atoms is replaced by a CH moiety. The X-ray crystal structure, shown, shows that the two positions marked as green are each 50% CH and 50% N (because of symmetry in the structure). Mechanistic studies have revealed that the surprising source of the CH group is the solvent! New research is uncovering means of preparing other derivatives and analogues including tetrabenzoporphyins.


DTA, Merck

Illustrative publication:

A remarkable side-product from the synthesis of an octaalkylphthalocyanine: formation of a tetrabenzotriazaporphyrin

A.N. Cammidge M.J. Cook, D.L. Hughes, F. Nekelson, R. Rahman

Chemical Communications, 2005, 930 – 932

Applications of the photophysics of substituted phthalocyanines and related compounds

A long standing interest in the exploitation of the photophysical properties of phthalocyanines and similar macrocycles drives ongoing research into photodynamic therapeutic (PDT) effects, fluorescence and phosphorescence quenching for potential optical sensor applications, and optical limiting. Two separate PDT projects led the establishment of a Norway based spin out company and collaboration with a UK SME. These projects are largely but not exclusively based on UEA IP and have led to further patent applications and papers. Academic collaborations are also underway with Prof. David Russell (UEA), Dr Andy Cammidge (UEA), Dr Stephen Ashworth (UEA), Prof. Keiichi Sakamoto (Tokyo) and most recently with Prof. Tebello Nyokong (RSA). The last of these is funded by the Royal Society to exploit complementary expertise for medical applications of phthalocyanines but also involves more general characterisation of materials, eg their electrochemical properties.

Research with David Russell. Post PDT image of Pc/gold nanoparticle conjugates within HeLa cells. Image shows blebs (yellow arrow) and vacuoles (green arrow).


Venture capital, Smart, DTA studentships, CEC, Royal Society


see text above

Illustrative publications:

Intracellular photodynamic therapy with photosensitizer-nanoparticle conjugates: cancer therapy using a ‘Trojan horse’.

M. E. Wieder, D. C. Hone, M. J. Cook, M. M. Handsley, J. Gavrilovic and D. A. Russell, Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences, 2006, 5, 727-734

Synthesis and electrochemical chararacterization of ?- and ?-octasubstituted oxo(phthalocyaninato) titanium (IV) complexes

P. Tau, M. J. Cook, A. N. Cammidge and T. Nyokong, Journal of Porphyrins & Phthalocyanines, ICPP-4 abstracts, 2006, 10, 513

Synthesis of novel cationic amphiphilic phthalocyanine derivatives for next generation photosensitizer using photodynamic therapy of cancer.

K. Sakamoto, T. Kato, E. Ohno-Okumura, M. Watanabe and M. J. Cook

Dyes and Pigments, 2005, 64, 63-71

Zinc octa-n-alkyl phthalocyanines in photodynamic therapy: photophysical properties, accumulation and apoptosis in cell cultures, studies in erythrocytes and topical application to Balb/c mice skin.

L. Kaestner, M. Cesson, K. Kassab, T. Christensen, P. D. Edminson, M. J. Cook, I. Chambrier and G. Jori

Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences, 2003, 2, 660-667

Nonlinear absorption properties of some 1,4,8,11,15,18,22,25-octaalkylphthalocyanines and their metallated derivatives.

A. Auger, W. J. Blau, P. M. Burnham, I. Chambrier, M. J. Cook, B. Isare, F. Nekelson and S. M. O'Flaherty

Journal of Materials Chemistry, 2003, 13, 1042-10

Research Funding

Leverhulme Trust
Leverhulme Emeritus Fellowship (research into Phthalocyanines and related macrocycles)
Cook, MJ
01-Sept-2010 – 31-Aug-2012

Novel nanostructured materials for crime prevention
Cook, MJ, Cammidge, AN
01-June-07 – 30-June-2010

Fabrication and integration of thin film organic devices on flexible substrates for displays
Cook MJ, Cammidge AN
01-May-07 – 30-Apr-2010

A high sensitivity broad spectrum optical early warning system for chemical toxic agents in water
Cammidge, AN, Cook, MJ
01-Feb-07 – 31-July-09

Industrial company (C)
NIR absorbing dyes
Cook, MJ
11-Sept-06 – 31-Dec-07

SME Company (B)
Metallo-SXF project
Cook MJ
01-Aug-06 – 30-Nov-07

SME Company (A)
Water purification project
Cook, MJ and Fernandes, I
01-Aug-05 - 30-Jul-07

Single-crystal x-ray facilities for synthetic chemistry
Bochmann, M, Cook, MJ, Redshaw, C, Lancaster, SJ and Hughes, D
01-Sep-05 - 31-Aug-08

Royal Society
Development of phthalocyanine derivatives for medical applications
Cook, MJ, Cammidge, AN, Ashworth, SH and Nyokong ,T (Rhodes Uni SA)
01-Apr-05 - 31-Mar-08

ICENI Seedcorn Fund LLP
Pathfinder Award: Cadmium Phthalocyanines
Cook, MJ
01-Apr-04 - 01-Aug-10

A pump priming study of the potential of a new class of phthalocyanine derivative as functional materials
Cook, MJ
01-Aug-04 - 31-Oct-05

SME Company (A)
Water Purification
Cook, MJ
01-Jan-03 - 31-Dec-03

Merck Ltd
CASE award: Semiconducting films
Cook, MJ and Cammidge, AN
01-Oct-01 - 30-Sep-04

Pfizer research studies at UEA
Cook, MJ
24-Sep-01 - 30-Sep-08

ROPA: Sam cladded waveguides for optical sensing of oxygen
Cook, M J
01-Apr-00 - 31-Mar-02

Optical properties of phthalocyanines and related compounds
Cook, MJ
01-Oct-00 - 30-Sep-04

Self assembled monolayer optical switches
Cook, M J and Russell, DA
01-May-98 - 31-Jan-02

Pseudo disordered supramolecular assemblies on colloid particles
Cook, M J
01-Oct-98 - 30-Sep-01

Substituted phthalocyanines: Synthesis redox chemistry and application to photoelectrochemical solar cells
Cammidge, A N and Cook, MJ
01-Dec-99 - 31-May-01

Gentian AS
PDT: New analogues programme
Cook, MJ
01-Feb-00 - 30-Apr-01

Low bandgap phthalocyanine derivatives
Cook, MJ and Cammidge, AN
31-Jan-00 - 12-Jan-01

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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