Research interests

Our research focuses on supramolecular chemistry, particularly self–assembly.

Specifically, we are interested in using relatively weak non-covalent interactions such as hydrogen bonding and halogen bonding to assemble complex/interesting/potentially useful 3D architectures. This encompasses aspects of host–guest chemistry, self–assembly and crystal engineering.

Specific areas of research are described in more detail below.

Hydrogen bonded framework materials
We are interested in using strong hydrogen bonds between cationic receptors and anions to assemble 3D framework materials, and we have developed a family of materials prepared from amidinium cations and carboxylate anions. We have also demonstrated that we can make families of these materials in a predictable manner using a node-and-linker approach (similar to that used in MOF chemistry), and we have shown that these materials can be prepared in water, and survive heating to 100 °C in water and DMSO. We collaborate with Christan Doonan’s group (University of Adelaide) to study the gas adsorption and materials properties of these systems.


Selected references:
Chem. Sci. 2017, 3019
Chemrxiv, 2019, DOI: 10.26434/chemrxiv.8067176
Dalton Trans. 2019, DOI: 10.1039/c8dt05030a (invited perspective)

New anion receptors, and fundamental studies of supramolecular chemistry
We are interested in developing new methodology to complex potentially-toxic anions, particularly in water. We have also worked with Megan O’Mara and Michael Thomas to use a combination of NMR spectroscopy, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and X-ray crystallography to understand how host–guest and self–assembly processes in solution.

Selected references:
Chem. Asian J. 2017, 1587
Chem. Asian J. 2019, 1271
Chem. Soc. Rev. 2019, 2596

Synthesis, crystal engineering and self–assembly of cages
We are investigating the use of self–assembly to prepare large cage structures, and to order these, and other, cages into well-defined 3D superstructures. We are interested both in new ways to prepare cages, and the materials properties of the resulting cages and ordered cage assemblies.

Chemrxiv, 2019, DOI: 10.26434/chemrxiv.8052182