Analytical and environmental chemistry
We have expertise in developing systems for peptide and protein analysis and in particular large scale proteins purification. We have also developed FTIR-based techniques for the analysis of animal physiology. Our researchers are also working on the chemistry of atmospheric interest and environmental trace metal analysis.
We examine transition metal coordination chemistry related to polymerisation reactions and catalysis. Of particular importance are CO2 activation processes intended to turn this greenhouse gas into usable chemicals and polymers. We also focus on deactivation processes associated with catalytic reactions. Metallosupramolecular chemistry is another prominent focal point and both discrete assemblies (such as helicates) and infinite frameworks (such as porous metal-organic frameworks) are targeted. Applications in the areas of molecular magnets, solar cell dyes, optical materials, gas storage and catalysis are emerging.
Research in chemical synthesis feeds into three discrete, but equally significant, areas: Fundamental research; targeted synthesis; and synthetic methodology. Our research focuses on: developing novel molecules for drug delivery, sensors, anion recognition and binding as well as new materials for organic light emitting diodes (OLED), gas storage, stereoselective catalysis and single molecule magnets.
We have expertise in applying the principles of physics to chemical systems to understand their behaviour. Our researchers are investigating molecular systems by applying spectroscopic techniques to probe the time dependence of chemical processes.
We also have expertise in the impact on biological and physical systems in relation to the above principles and processes.
Theoretical and computational chemistry
Our areas of expertise include quantum chemistry and computational simulations focused toward fundamental and applied areas. Those include the study of greenhouse gases capture and conversion, computational inorganic and organic chemistry, bonding models, materials under extreme conditions, super-heavy element research, relativistic and quantum electrodynamic effects in atoms and molecules, and emergence of solid state characteristics from nucleation.
Assembling nanoparticles into functional materials
One way to fabricate functional materials from nanoparticles is to print droplets of the nanoparticles onto a substrate like paper or glass. The nanoparticles are assembled into patterned shapes as the liquid in the droplet evaporates. This project, led by are investigating how to modify the surface chemistry of the nanoparticles to control the shapes of the materials that form.
Molecules in extreme environments
In the atmospheres of certain stellar objects such as rotating white dwarfs and neutron stars, extreme magnetic fields exist that cannot be generated on Earth. Knowledge about chemistry and physics under such conditions is indispensable for understanding astronomical observations. Dr Elke Pahl and Prof Peter Schwerdtfeger as well as post-doctoral fellow and PhD students of the Centre of Theoretical Chemistry and Physics joined European scientists at the Centre for Advanced Study at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in 2017/18 to work towards understanding how the chemistry we know on Earth changes under extreme conditions. Exciting new research ideas resulted - one example is a new highly collaborative research project on the study of melting processes in high magnetic fields.
Revolutionary smart measuring optical device
Massey scientists in natural, mathematical sciences and engineering have developed what is thought to be the first-ever ‘smart’ cell density sensing tool. The SMODTM (Smart Measuring Optical Device) was launched by Lifeonics in 2015 and since then has signed a number of international distributors,.
The black sheep of the heavy metals
Super heavy elements with an atomic number between 113 [Nihonium] and 118 [Oganesson] have only very recently been added to the periodic table and given names. Exploring and extending the periodic table of elements towards the super-heavy region, with atomic numbers larger than 103 is driven by the desire to test the very limits of the existence of matter.
Distinguished Professor Peter Schwerdtfeger and Professor Elke Pahl are principal investigators on this project, which received $910,000 in the 2017 Marsden funding round, to explore these most heaviest of elements in the periodic table.
The potential in metal-organic frameworks
Porous materials have fascinated humankind since the Greeks discovered zeolites: stones that could give off water. Of late, a new class of porous crystals has been discovered. Known as metal-organic frameworks, they have beautiful architectures that can be tuned at the molecular dimension.
The structures and applications of these materials is only limited by the imagination. Can they be used to sequester CO2 directly from air? Is the targeted delivery of bioactive payloads in the human body possible? Discoveries made at Massey University have contributed strongly to the global surge of interest in these metal-organic frameworks. These include new ways of making catalysts, frameworks that are built up using a set of different building blocks, and those that display unique and interesting structural and functional properties.
Tracking emulsion destruction
Ongoing projects tracking emulsions are working at the edges (surfaces and interfaces) that control the properties of materials like paints, sunscreens, lubricants and dairy foods. Paint, skin cream and sauces are all non-equilibrium, liquid-based systems, called emulsions. They consist of micrometre-sized oil droplets in water that separate over time. Controlling the drop stability is critical. We have used nanoparticles to fuse together drops of different liquids into multi-compartment drops for delivering active ingredients.
Massey University researchers, led by Professor Shane Telfer, have received $1.5 million to explore the potential of a material that could perform tasks like capturing carbon dioxide directly from air to help mitigate global warming.Professor Shane Telfer
$1.5 million funding from Catalyst Strategic Fund
Ministry for Business, Innovation and Enterprise
Drs Elke Pahl, Krista Steenbergen, Lukas Pasteka and Distinguished Professor Peter Schwerdtfeger have been selected fellows and join eight international scientists from Europe as fellows at the Centre for Advanced Study at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.Drs Elke Pahl, Krista Steenbergen, Lukas Pasteka and Distinguished Professor Peter Schwerdtfeger
Fellows of the Centre for Advanced Study in Norway
Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
Professor Shane Telfer received $891,000 for his research 'Reinventing Asymmetric Catalysts Using Multicomponent Frameworks' Professor Shane Telfer
Marsden funding for asymmetric catalysis research
Royal Society Te Apārangi
Distinguished Professor Peter Schwerdtfeger and Dr Elke Pahl were awarded $910,000 from the Royal Society's of New Zealand's Marsden Fund to explore and extend the periodic table of elements towards the super-heavy region.Distinguished Professor Peter Schwerdtfeger and Dr Elke Pahl
Marsden funding for heavy element research
Royal Society Te Apārangi
Centre for Theoretical Chemistry and Physics
The Centre has some of the best theoretical and computational chemists and physicists in Australasia, studying complex systems, Bose-Einstein condensation, quantum chromodynamics, electronic structure theory and mathematical chemistry and physics.