Personal details

Professor John McMurtrie
Science and Engineering Faculty,
School of Chemistry & Physics
Discipline *
Inorganic Chemistry, Physical Chemistry (incl. Structural)
+61 7 3138 1220
View location details (QUT staff and student access only)
Identifiers and profiles

Ph.D in Chemistry (University of New South Wales)

Professional memberships
and associations
  • Member, Royal Australian Chemical Institute
  • Member, Society of Crystallographers in Australia and New Zealand

Coordination Chemistry, Crystal Engineering, Framework Alloys, Halogen Bonding, Inorganic Chemistry, Molecular Alloys, Organic and Inorganic Spin Systems, Structural Chemistry, Supramolecular Chemistry, Synthesis

* Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008


Research discipline: Chemistry
John McMurtrie completed his BSc (Chemistry) at Macquarie University (Sydney) in 1998 followed by Honours in Chemistry (1999) under the supervision of Prof. Robert Vagg. John then moved to The University of New South Wales for his doctoral studies under the supervision of Prof. Ian Dance FAA and graduated with a PhD in 2003 with a thesis titled “The Crystalline Supramolecular Chemistry of bis-Terpyridyl and Related Metal Complexes”. This was followed by a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Sydney (2003-4) in the group of Prof. Len Lindoy FAA. John was appointed Lecturer in Inorganic Chemistry at Queensland University of Technology in 2004 where he remains, now as an ARC Future Fellow and Associate Professor of Inorganic Chemistry.
Areas of expertise
John has wide ranging expertise and research interests across several chemistry sub-disciplines including

  • organic and coordination chemical synthesis
  • structural chemistry
  • supramolecular and metallosupramolecular chemistry
  • crystal engineering
  • coordination polymers and metal-organic-frameworks
  • halogen bonded architectures
  • porphyrin chemistry
  • X-ray crystallography (single crystal and powder)

Current Research Projects
Elastic Flexibility in Crystals: Crystals are normally considered to be hard and brittle. We have discovered a suite of crystals containing metal complexes that show remarkable elastic flexibility. Our group, in collaboration with A/Prof Jack Clegg (University of Queensland), are currently designing new crystalline materials that bend, stretch and twist. We are exploring the mechanisms that allow this flexibility and the resulting responses (optical/magnetic) that result from elastic deformation.
Chiral Supramolecular Architectures: Molecular architectures with intriguing geometries and physical properties can be constructed by combining concepts of design and synthesis. In this research we are building metallo-supramolecular architectures based on chiral ligands. Technologically useful molecular and coordination framework materials are the target compounds.
Molecular Alloys: The key to preparation of useful solid state materials is the ability to tune their physical properties. We are exploring the potential for solid solutions of metal complexes (molecular alloys) to be synthesised as crystalline materials with tunable physical (e.g. optical and magnetic) properties. A range of new supramolecular alloys have been prepared and early results are promising.
Halogen Bonded Architectures: Halogen bonds are similar in energy to hydrogen bonds but are much more directional (and therefore much more predicable) in a crystal engineering context. We are exploiting halogen bonding to engineer new crystalline materials containing transition metals with tunable magnetic (e.g. spin switching) and optical properties (e.g. non-linear optics) for potential applications as high-tech temperature and pressure responsive sensors.

This information has been contributed by Professor John McMurtrie.


Teaching discipline: Chemistry John McMurtrie has a strong interest in undergraduate and postgraduate education. John regularly teaches and coordinates units for 1st-year students through to Honours/Masters level units. Specialist topics include

  • Electronic structure
  • Chemical bonding
  • Thermodynamics and kinetics
  • Transition metal chemistry
  • Coordination chemistry
  • Supramolecular and metallosupramolecular chemistry
  • Coordination polymers and metal-organic-frameworks
  • Electronic spectra and spectroscopic terms
  • X-ray crystallography
This information has been contributed by Professor John McMurtrie.


For more publications by this staff member, visit QUT ePrints, the University's research repository.

Research projects

Grants and projects (Category 1: Australian Competitive Grants only)

Flexible crystals: inducing new physical properties in crystalline materials through the combination and control of intermolecular interactions
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
Start year
Coordination Chemistry; Supramolecular Chemistry; Crystal Engineering
Permanent Concentration Gradients Captured in Molecular and Framework Co-Crystals
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
Start year
Supramolecular Chemistry; Metal-Organic-Framework; Co-Crystal


Current supervisions

  • Active Metal Template Synthesis of [2]Rotaxanes
    PhD, Associate Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Dr Kathleen Mullen
  • Metallosupramolecular polyhedra for inclusion in multicomponent co-crystals
    PhD, Principal Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Dr Aaron Micallef
  • Modulation of Spin Crossover Behaviour of Metal Complexes Encapsulated in Halogen Bonded Networks
    PhD, Principal Supervisor
    Other supervisors: Dr Aaron Micallef

Completed supervisions (Doctorate)

Completed supervisions (Masters by Research)