University of Otago, New Zealand


Te Tari Hua-Ruanuku

Dr David A. McMorran

contact photo
Dr David A. McMorran
100-level tutor
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.

Selected Publications

"1,5-Diarylbiguanides and their nickel(II) complexes”, David A. McMorran, C. John McAdam, Holly van der Salm and Keith C. Gordon, Dalton Transactions, 2013, 42, 2948-2962.

"Click-Triazole Coordination Chemistry: Exploiting 1,4-Disubstituted-1,2,3-Triazoles as Ligands”, James D Crowley and David A McMorran, Topics in Heterocyclic Chemistry, 2012, 28, 31-84.

“Ag(I)-based tectons for the construction of helical and meso-helical hydrogen bonded coordination networks”, David A. McMorran, Inorganic Chemistry, 2008, 47, 592-601.

“Octasubstituted biphenylenes: is there a favoured conformation?”, Peter J. Steel and David A. McMorran, Acta Crystallographica Section C 2007, C63, o382-o385.

“Chelating and Bridging Modes of Coordination by 1,3-Bis(pyrazol-1-yl)propane; Coexistence of Discrete and Infinite Metallosupramolecular Isomers within the Same Crystal”, David A. McMorran, Stephan Pfadenhauer and Peter J. Steel, Aust. J. Chem., 2002, 55, 519-523.

“A Self-Complementary Molecular Cleft”, David A. McMorran and Peter J. Steel, Chem. Commun., 2002, 2120-2121. (Highlighted in The Alchemist, August 2002)

“New U and Y-shaped components for Metallosupramolecular Assemblies: Synthesis and Coordination Chemistry of 2,6-bis(3-pyridyloxy)pyrazine”, David A. McMorran and Peter J. Steel, J. Chem. Soc., Dalton Trans., 2002, 3321-3326.

“New U-shaped Components for Metallosupramolecular Assemblies: Synthesis and Coordination Chemistry of 2,6-bis(4-(3-pyridyloxy)phenoxy)pyrazine”, David A. McMorran and Peter J. Steel, Supramolecular Chem., 2002, 14, 79-85.

“The First Coordinatively Saturated Quadruple Helicate and it’s Encapsulation of a Hexafluorophosphate Anion”, Peter J. Steel and David A. McMorran, Angew. Chem., Int. Ed., 1998, 37, 3295-3297.