Sarah Masters

Associate ProfessorSarah Masters

Director of Postgraduate Studies
Ernest Rutherford 402
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., Masters SL., Wann DA., Rankine CD., Nunes JPF. and Guillemin J-C. (2019) Direct Experimental Observation of in situ Dehydrogenation of an Amine-Borane System Using Gas Electron Diffraction.. J Phys Chem A http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpca.9b05522.
  • Lena JB., Deschamps M., Sciortino NF., Masters SL., Squire MA. and Russell GT. (2018) Effects of Chain Transfer Agent and Temperature on Branching and β-Scission in Radical Polymerization of 2-Ethylhexyl Acrylate. Macromolecular Chemistry and Physics 219(9) http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/macp.201700579.
  • Rankine CD., Atkinson SJ., Waterland MR., Masters SL. and Wann DA. (2018) The structure of tris(chloromethyl)amine in the gas phase using quantum chemical calculations and gas electron diffraction and as a solid and melt using Raman spectroscopy. Structural Chemistry 29(3): 803-813. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11224-018-1089-1.
  • Gunby NR., Masters SL. and Crittenden DL. (2017) Embracing chemical and structural diversity with UCONGA: A universal conformer generation and analysis program. Journal of Molecular Graphics and Modelling 77: 286-294. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmgm.2017.09.007.
  • Masters SL. (2017) Gas phase molecular imaging using electrons. Massey University, New Zealand: 13 Sep 2017.