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david_mcmorranPhD, BSc(Hons) (Otago)

Tel: 03 479 7934
Location: Science II, Gc2

Teaching Responsibilities


The emerging field of metallosupramolecular chemistry focuses on the ways in which assemblies of molecules, which may have new and interesting properties, can be constructed using metal ions as a glue to hold together various molecular components. By understanding the structural and electronic predilections of the metals ions and the various components, such assemblies can be designed to perform particular functions, such as energy conversion, catalysis and specific recognition of small molecules. In this, metallosupramolecular chemistry finds inspiration in the exquisite control and subtlety found in enzymes and other biological systems.

We are currently beginning to explore how this assembly process can be enhanced by combining the 'metal ions as glue' motif with specific hydrogen bonding interactions. In this way we aim to simply prepare assemblies with novel functional and structural properties. For example, recent work has shown that chiral Ag(I)-containing tectons can be assembled using hydrogen bonding and that either helical or meso-helical polymeric structures can be obtained depending on the nature of the counterion.

We are also exploring the coordination chemistry of suitably substituted biguanide ligands which inherently contain a triple hydrogen-bonding surface proximal to the metal binding site. Such ligands, which have been shown to stabilise a range of unusual metal oxidation states, may allow the construction of interesting assemblies capable of multi-electron catalysis.


McKay, A. P., Mapley, J. I., Gordon, K. C., & McMorran, D. A. (2019). Ru(II) and Ir(III) complexes containing ADA and DAD triple hydrogen bonding motifs: Potential tectons for the assembly of functional materials. Chemistry: An Asian Journal, 14(8), 1194-1203. doi: 10.1002/asia.201801748

Steel, P. J., & McMorran, D. A. (2019). Selective anion recognition by a dynamic quadruple helicate. Chemistry: An Asian Journal, 14, 1098-1101. doi: 10.1002/asia.201801262

Roxburgh, M., McMorran, D. A., Garden, A. L., & Hanton, L. R. (2018). Orientation of Agl ions in coordination architectures through ligand conformation and anion binding: From polymeric chains to discrete squares. European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry, 2018(38), 4278-4285. doi: 10.1002/ejic.201800746

Ward, J. I., Roxburgh, M., Hanton, L. R., & McMorran, D. A. (2018). Silver(I) complexes of 2,6-bis(4-pyridylsulfenyl)pyrazine: Interplay of anion coordination and argentophilic interactions. Inorganic Chemistry Communications, 87, 44-48. doi: 10.1016/j.inoche.2017.12.005

McKay, A. P., Shillito, G. E., Gordon, K. C., & McMorran, D. A. (2017). Cyclometallated platinum(II) and palladium(II) complexes containing 1,5-diarylbiguanides: Synthesis, characterisation and hydrogen bond-directed assembly. CrystEngComm, 19(47), 7095-7111. doi: 10.1039/C7CE01805C

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