School of Molecular Sciences

Materials and nanoscience

Materials and nanoscience is a cross-disciplinary area in which a wide range of traditional and translational synthetic methods, fabrication and characterisation techniques are brought to bear on challenges from biology and medicine to catalysis and electronics.

Computational chemistry: Dr Dino Spagnoli
My research interests involve applying computer simulation techniques to understand fundamental processes that occur at the mineral-water interface. There are many important processes that are governed by this interface.

Very broadly speaking they include crystal growth, aggregation of nanoparticles, adsorption of species and pollutants to the mineral surface, and dissolution. By applying computer simulations we can gain an understanding of these processes on an atomistic scale, which can be used to guide future experiments or help understand current experimental observations.
Computational and theoretical chemistry: Dr Amir Karton
During the past decade, computational chemistry has had an increasingly important impact on almost all branches of chemistry as a powerful approach for solving chemical problems at the molecular level.

The increasing computational power provided by supercomputers and the emergence of highly accurate theoretical procedures make contemporary computational chemistry one of the most detailed 'microscopes' currently available for examining the atomic and electronic details of molecular processes.

In my lab we use supercomputers in conjunction with very accurate theoretical methods to elucidate the reaction paths, kinetics, and the mechanisms in salient organic, organometallic and enzymatic systems.
Crystallography and theoretical chemistry: Professor Mark Spackman
Our research investigates in detail the structure of crystals, in particular the electron distribution and properties related to it, such as electric moments of molecules (dipole, quadrupole, etc.), electrostatic potential and electric field, and also measures of its response to external perturbations, including polarizability and hyperpolarizability.

All research projects in this area incorporate different aspects of physical and theoretical chemistry. They utilise ab initio computational methods along with some computer programming and computer graphics and, where applicable, measurement and detailed analysis of high-resolution, low-temperature X-ray diffraction data.

Other lab group members: Dr Michael Turner and Mr Sajesh Thomas
Metals in chemistry and nanochemistry: Professor George Koutsantonis
Our group is interested in the role of metals in functional materials. While the role played by metals in materials is still evolving and there is an increasing effort to incorporate redox-active centres into many materials, for example conducting polymers, in an effort to create highly efficient redox conductivity for sensor, catalytic, photochemical and photoelectronic applications. We are participating members of the WA Centre of Excellence in Nanochemistry.
Nanobiotechnology: Professor Swaminatha Iyer
Nanobiotechnology is a branch of nanotechnology with biological and biochemical applications.
Our research explores the synthesis, characterisation and application of novel polymer based formulations for biomedical applications. Using surface chemistry on tailor polymers we aim to track and deliver payloads to image and improve the outcome in various medical emergencies.

Other lab group members: Dr Marck Norret, Dr Tristan Clemons
Nanomaterials: Dr Rebecca Fuller
Our research focuses on the development of new nanomaterials and spans the disciplines of chemistry, physics and biology. The systems produced have diverse applications including use as a contrast agent in medical imaging, biosensors, ultra dense hard drive materials and catalysts for the oil and gas industry.

The key component that links all of our projects is the production of high quality nanoparticle systems, which can be readily functionalised. This multidiscipline research involves the production of systematically varied systems and studying how their features affect the physical properties of the materials.

Nanotechnology is an emerging field and this work is important for the development of future applications based on these media.
Nanotechnology and therapeutic delivery: Dr Tristan Clemons
Our research focuses on the application of nanotechnology in biology for the treatment of a range of diseases and injuries. Our main focus is on the development of multifunctional nanoparticles or nanoformulations capable for the delivery of a range of therapeutics and applying these formulations in models of cancer, heart disease, wound healing and scarring.

Other lab group members: Professor Swaminatha Iyer
Organometallic chemistry and molecular electronics: Professor Paul Low
Molecular materials allow the fascinating range of optical, electronic and magnetic properties offered by molecules, and which can be manipulated through control over molecular composition and structure, to be applied in device platforms. We are particularly interested in understanding how changes in redox state can influence molecular electronic structure and hence opto-electronic properties, with particular emphasis on molecular electronic applications.
Spectroscopy of reactive intermediates: Professor Allan McKinley
My research interests involve: applications of spectroscopy for the detection and characterization of reactive intermediates, theoretical modelling of the bonding in radicals, analysis and remediation of contaminated groundwater, and biological applications of Electron Spin Resonance spectroscopy.
Synthetic Biology: Associate Professor Oliver Rackham
Synthetic biology is a burgeoning new field focused on designing and building new biomolecules, biological networks and systems for useful purposes. Our research focuses on re-engineering bacteria and yeast for use as microscopic drug factories, and the manipulation of mammalian gene expression.
Synthetic chemistry: Professor Murray Baker
We aim to apply our skills in synthesis to problems in areas such as catalysis, nanotechnology, surface science, biological chemistry/medicine, polymer science, molecular recognition, and sensors.