Pushing the boundaries of fundamental chemistry
Fundamental research in our school spans all areas of chemistry to advance knowledge, better understand the universe and seed development of the next generation of technological breakthroughs.
Chemistry is often referred to as the central science, given the strong connections between chemistry and the other natural sciences.
Our research focuses on advancing the current understanding of chemical science in terms of explaining the mechanisms of reactions, developing new methods in chemical synthesis, uncovering novel aspects of molecular structure and, revealing different modes of chemical bonding.
Our fundamental discoveries help propel chemistry as the central science by facilitating interdisciplinary outcomes in areas such as chemical biology and chemical physics.
Chemical bonding and intermolecular forces
Arguably, the core of chemical science is our understanding of how individual atoms or groups of atoms form chemical bonds. We aim to understand bonding in novel solid-state compounds and transition metal complexes to build knowledge of the properties, reactivity and preparation of these substances.
Our research on intermolecular forces (bonding between different molecules) aims to understand and control the formation of molecular assemblies and the interactions between solvents and solutes.
Chemical synthesis and catalysis
Our researchers are exploring new methods for the synthesis of organic, transition metal and main group compounds. We aim to prepare substances that have never been made before or identifying novel, more straightforward methods for the preparation of known compounds. This research includes the design and development of novel catalytic processes to affect reaction outcomes.
Reaction kinetics and mechanism
Determining how chemical reactions occur is essential for understanding and influencing the outcomes of these reactions. Research in this area aims to uncover the mechanism of fundamentally important reactions within organic, inorganic and biological chemistry, including the interaction of molecules with catalysts and enzymes.
Chemistry as an enabling science
Advances in chemical science at the interface of biology, physics and environmental science aid discoveries in each of these fields.
Our staff use a chemical understanding to tackle problems in these disparate fields, such as probing the structure and function of enzymes to learn more about biological function or studying the interaction of molecules with light to understand physical processes that occur on extremely rapid timescales.
This research also explores the development of new analytical techniques and methods to detect and quantify molecules of importance to biological and physical processes.
- Time-resolved spectrophotometry
- Radical mechanisms
- Anticancer prodrugs
- Synthesis of novel small organic molecules
- Synthetic methodologies for improved organic synthesis
- Polyketide metabolites and marine toxins
- Anti-tuberculosis agents
- Species-selective toxicants
Professor Ralph Cooney
- Interfacial nanoscience of porous oxides and polymers
- Raman and infrared spectroscopy
- Conducting polymers
- Medicinal chemistry of anti-infectives
- Natural products – isolation, synthesis, structure-activity
- Wine microbiology
- Aroma chemistry
- Analytical and bioanalytical mass spectrometry
- Wine and food chemistry and biochemistry
- Adding value to horticultural waste
- Natural product synthesis
- New reaction mechanisms
- Drug discovery
- Medicinal inorganic chemistry
- Supramolecular chemistry
- Bioanalytical chemistry
- Nature-inspired biopolymers for food and agricultural application
- Synthetic polymer chemistry
- Advanced chain growth and step-growth polymerization techniques
- Polymers for laser micromachining
- Synthesis of new main-group molecules and polymers
- Mechanism of catalytic main-group bond-forming reactions
- Protein structures and enzyme mechanisms
- NMR techniques to measure protein-ligand interactions and enzyme kinetics
- Biophysical chemistry
- Multiscale simulations of synthetic polymer dynamics
- Simulations-driven rational design of polymers
- Building molecular predictors of polymer properties
- Light metals and their oxides
- Surfaces and catalysis
- Chemistry in forensic science
- Analytical chemistry
- Bioactives, microencapsulation and functional foods
- Food/byproduct processing - quality, safety and application
- Lipid science and technology
- Biomolecular turn-mimetics and other protein secondary structures
- Synthesis of constrained amino acids and cyclic peptides
- Ultrafast laser spectroscopy and chemical dynamics
- Laser micromachining and microfabrication
- Inorganic materials chemistry
- Total synthesis of natural products
- C-H bond functionalisation
- Chemical probes
- Controlled radical polymerization
- Multifunctional conducting polymers
- Electrocatalysts for water splitting, fuel cells and batteries
- Solar-driven catalytic reactions
- Carbon dioxide capture and catalytic conversion
- Intermolecular forces and solvent effects
- Kinetics and reaction mechanism
- Structure and properties of liquids
- Solid-state inorganic materials
- Electrochemical characterisation
- Nanopipetting methods
- Colloidal self-assembly
- New ligand design
- Solid-state NMR spectroscopy and its applications to materials science and pharmaceuticals
- Conducting polymers
- Self-assembly of nanostructured conducting polymers