Sarah Masters

Associate ProfessorSarah Masters

Beatrice Tinsley 422
Internal Phone: 94229

Qualifications & Memberships

Research Interests

My research is geared towards providing structural information about transient, short-lived, species. Research areas include the structure determination of transient species and stable radicals.

Transient species are generated using flash vacuum pyrolysis (FVP) techniques and analysed using gas electron diffraction (GED). The methodologies of FVP and GED have been combined in a new inlet system, and the species for investigation are passed into the diffraction chamber where structural data is collected. Very-high temperatures are required for this work, as the transient species are usually generated at temperatures between 500 and 900 K.

Generating stable radicals from sterically loaded systems is in the early stages of experimental investigation. The systems Z2R4 / ZR2 [Z = P or As, R = CH(SiMe3)2] provided the first known examples of molecules with relatively normal strong Z-Z bonds, which required no additional energy to break. The driving force for dissociation is the conformational change, which allows relaxation of the steric strain upon dissociation. This led to the term 'jack-in-the-box' molecules being applied to these systems. Other systems have been predicted to behave in this manner, although no experimental work has been carried out on them. Work is currently underway to examine the process of dissociation in other symmetric and also asymmetric systems using experimental and theoretical methods.

Recent Publications

  • Ja’o AM., Wann DA., Rankine CD., Nunes JPF., Guillemin JC. and Masters SL. (2021) Structural and thermochemical studies of pyrrolidine borane and piperidine borane by gas electron diffraction and quantum chemical calculations. Structural Chemistry 32(1): 205-213. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11224-020-01647-0.
  • Wagner I., Rankin DWH. and Masters SL. (2021) Gas electron diffraction then and now: from trisilyl phosphine to iso-propyl(tert-butyl)(trichlorosilyl)phosphine.. Dalton Trans http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/d1dt02888j.
  • Huang Y., Masters S., Krumdieck S. and Bishop C. (2020) The role of faceting in biaxially textured thin films: columnar morphology and abnormal tilting. Journal of Applied Physics.
  • Ja'O AM., Wann DA., Rankine CD., Polson MIJ. and Masters SL. (2020) Utilizing the Combined Power of Theory and Experiment to Understand Molecular Structure-Solid-State and Gas-Phase Investigation of Morpholine Borane. Australian Journal of Chemistry 73(8): 794-802. http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/CH19492.
  • Masters S. and Ja'o A. (2020) Essential B–N interactions in linear and cyclic donor–acceptor complexes – A review.. Chemistry in New Zealand 84(2): 59-63.