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Ennis Research Group
Solid-State Astrochemistry and Molecular Crystal Spectroscopy

Larissa’s USyd visit and IUCr2023 Poster

This August Larissa has been super busy “across the ditch” performing Titan cocrystal XRD experiments with collaborators Sam Duyker and the Kennedy group at USyd before heading down to Melbourne to mix with the world’s crystallographers at IUCr2023. Here she is in front of her awesome poster with co-supervisor Helen Maynard-Casely. Sounds like an idea filled supervisor debrief to come from Larissa’s extensive networking!!

Congratulations MSc Graduate Lily Clague

Awesome news with the graduation of MSc student Lily Clague. Lily worked on some tricky experiments toward the formation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons on mineral surfaces, coupled with some excellent quantum calculations under co-supervision of AProf Anna Garden. Lily has a fantastic industry role lined up in Christchurch, where we are excited about her placement and anticipate some excellent science on the horizon.

New Paper: Hydrogenation of NO on Ice

Out today in ACS Earth & Space Chemistry is Sam’s fantastically comprehensive computational study on the hydrogenation of NO on water ice surfaces; the first publication from an internal UO Chemistry collaboration between the Ennis and the Anna Garden groups. Awesome work Sam… we’ll sort out the surface spectroscopy side yet!

Read here: McIntyre, Ennis & Garden (2023) ACS Earth & Space Chemistry

2023 Synchrotron Visit – Macreadie & Hanton Groups

A weekend of excellent science at the Australian Synchrotron with Lauren Macreadie (UNSW) and Lyall Hanton (Otago) groups. PhD students Elliot Nicholson and Nick Page arrived with a stack of interesting new MOF materials for us to collect diffraction data (MX2) and variable temperature far-IR (THz). Now on with the analysis!

New in JPCA: Identification of cocrystal thin-films by IR

Just out in JPCA is Tait’s first studies into the formation of the C6H6:C2H2 (1:1) cocrystal under laboratory vacuum conditions; confirmed by transmission IR and application of group theory. This work will underpin his PhD work toward new C6H6 containing cocrystals under Titan conditions. Nice cover Tait! Click here to have a read.

Congratulations MSc Graduate Sam McIntyre

Congratulations to Sam McIntyre who graduated in December completing her MSc dissertation on the hydrogenation of NO on ice surfaces, co-supervised by Assoc. Prof. Anna Garden. A quantum calculation methods study supported by laboratory ice spectroscopy; look out for the results to be published soon. A job well done Sam!

Ennis Group ANSTO Co-crystal Experiments

Ennis group PhD students Larissa Lopes-Cavalcante and Tait Francis have just returned from Sydney after participating in the ANSTO-HZB Neutron School (where both were winners of the practical exercise prize) followed by a run of experiments on the ACNS Wombat and Echidna beamlines. Here the team, mentored by Helen Maynard-Casely, have investigated a series of Titan relevant molecules in the search for new co-crystal structures. Stay tuned for new highlights from the post-analysis!

Synchrotron Far-IR and DFT Study of HOF Materials

Just out in PCCP is our first collaboration with the White group (ANU) where we have combined synchrotron vibrational studies with periodic DFT to survey the channel surface topology and water-solvent binding interactions of a suite of HOF compounds; porous materials for potential molecular storage and separation technologies. Hopefully the first work of many!

Read here: Ennis, Appadoo, Boer & White (2022) PCCP.

Synchrotron Studies of Jumping Crystals

Appearing this week in ACS Crystal Growth & Design as an ASAP paper is the Ennis lab collaboration with Angeloski and coworkers at UTS where synchrotron XRD and THz spectroscopy has been used to characterise the onset of thermosalience (phase transition leading to a macroscopic “jump” via anisotropic lattice alteration) in a Ni(II) system. Check out some rather formidable periodic-DFT frequency calculations applied to assign far-infrared spectra.

Read more here: Angeloski et al. Crystal Growth & Design (2022)

Marsden Research Highlighted in Stuff News Feature

The Ennis lab Marsden Fund research project toward the synthesis of life-bearing organic molecules from co-crystals in Titan’s environment was featured in an article in Stuff News NZ; also touching on broader planetary chemistry and Courtney’s career path to Otago Chemistry. Check it out here:

Kiwi scientist looking for bits of life on Saturn’s moon Titan