Professor John McMurtrie

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Role in the Centre

John McMurtrie is a structural chemist with expertise in synthetic organic, inorganic and coordination chemistry. Current areas of research include supramolecular chemistry, metallosupramolecular chemistry, metal-organic-frameworks, crystalline molecular alloys and elastically flexible crystals. The overarching goal of this research is the design of complex molecular and supramolecular architectures with tunable magnetic and luminescent properties. Current projects within the QUT Centre of Materials Science involve (a) the modulation of spin crossover properties of metal complexes and metallosupramolecular architectures by encapsulation in crystalline halogen bonded networks and (b) designing molecular single crystals (hard matter) that display elastic flexibility typically associated with plastics and polymers (soft matter). With UQ collaborator Jack Clegg, his group recently developed the first technique for the determination of mechanisms of massive elastic deformation in crystalline materials which is now being employed widely for the study of these remarkable materials.

Short Biography

John obtained a BSc (Hons) at Macquarie University and then moved to the University of New South Wales where he graduated with a PhD in Supramolecular Chemistry in the group of Prof. Ian Dance (FAA). After a postdoctoral position at the University of Sydney with Prof. Len Lindoy (FAA), he was appointed Lecturer of Inorganic Chemistry at QUT in 2004 where his interests in research and teaching have continued to develop. He has obtained ca. $3M from competitive research grants to support a variety of different research topics. He established the QUT Single Crystal X-Ray Analysis Facility which is now part of QUT’s world-class Central Analytical Research Facility (CARF). John has published his research in prestigious chemistry journals including Nature Chemistry, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Angewandte Chemie and Chemistry of Materials. John has made significant contributions to course and curriculum design at QUT and has been an active member of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) for over 20 years. He was elected Fellow of the RACI in 2014 and President of the RACI Queensland Branch for 2019-2020.

Selected Publications

“Controlling Spin Switching with Anionic Supramolecular Frameworks” Pfrunder, M.C.; Whittaker, J.; Parsons, S.; Moubaraki, B.; Murray, K.S.; Moggach, S.; Sharma, N.; Micallef, A.S.; Clegg, J.K.; McMurtrie, J.C. Chemistry of Materials 2020, 32, 3229–3234.

“Halogen-Bond-Modulated Organization of [Ni(terpy-ph)2]I2 Complexes in Heteromeric Three-Component Systems” Pfrunder, M.C.; Brock, A.J.; Micallef, A.S; Clegg, J.K.; McMurtrie J.C. Crystal Growth & Design 2019, 19, 5334– 5342.

“Atomic Resolution of Structural Changes in Elastic Crystals of Copper(II) Acetylacetonate” Worthy, A.; Grosjean, A.; Pfrunder, M.C; Xu, Y.; Yan, C.; Edwards, G.; Clegg, J.K. ; McMurtrie, J.C. Nature Chemistry 2018, 10, 65-69.

“Elastically Flexible Crystals have Disparate Mechanisms of Molecular Movement Induced by Strain and Heat” Brock, A.J.; Whittaker, J.J.; Powell, J.A., Pfrunder, M.C.; Grosjean, A.; Parsons, S.; McMurtrie, J.C.; Clegg, J.K., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2018, 57, 11325-11328.

“A three-dimensional cubic halogen-bonded network” Pfrunder, M.C.; Brock, A.J.; Brown, J.J.; Grosjean, A.; Ward, J.; McMurtrie, J.C., Clegg, J.K. ChemComm. 2018, 54, 3974-3976.