Studies include work on carbon and metal-based nanomaterials, quantum dots, and characterisation of catalysts and composites. This research contributes to the DST/NRI Centre of Excellence in Strong Materials (CoE-SM), the Wits Materials for Energy Research Group (MERG), the South African Nanotechnology Initiative (SANI) and the DST/NRF Centre of Excellence in Catalysis (c*change). This capacity includes a state of the art powder X-ray diffraction and electron microscopy facilities, as well as instrumentation for measurement of surface and bulk properties.
Numerous projects in heterogeneous catalysis involve the synthesis and characterisation, with appropriate testing of the new materials made in the various projects.
Structural Chemistry and Crystallography
This world-class facility probes the structure, symmetry and nature of bonds in molecular crystals. Accurate molecular geometries, stereochemistry and even absolute configurations of molecules are almost routinely determined from x-ray diffraction data.
Research is focused on the experimental determination of electron density in crystals, and the prediction of observable electronic properties of molecules and crystals (such as electrostatic potentials, piezoelectricity) using software developed by the group. Two major research themes in this regard are the study of electronic changes associated with solid-state single-crystal reactions and crystal structure polymorphism.