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Curnow Research Group

Welcome to the Curnow Research Group

Curnow Research Group photo

Left to right:Tim Huber, Owen Curnow, Michael Holmes, Ruhamah Yunis, Kelvin Walst

About us:

In our research website pages you will find details of our research group. We are based in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Our group is currently focussed on two aspects of green chemistry. The major focus is on developing an entirely new class of ionic liquids (ILs) based on amino-stabilised cyclopropenium cations.  This involves the synthesis of new cations with a particular interest in those that have low melting points and viscosity. ILs have a vast range of potential applications: battery electrolytes, novel solvents, chiral solvents, fuel cells, dye-sensitised solar cells, carbon dioxide absorption, hydrogen storage, chromatography (as a non-volatile support), catalysis etc. Our group aims to design ILs that have properties useful for particular applications. The second focus is on the use of the TAML® catalyst system for the purification of gases.  This catalyst is most commonly used for the oxidation of organics using hydrogen peroxide.
We are also interested in the structures of chloride hydrates, [Cl(H2O)n]– and [Cl2(H2O)n]2–.

Latest news:

Two of our ionic liquids are now available for purchase through Sigma-Aldrich:

  • 1,2,3-Tris(diethylamino)cyclopropenylium bis(trifluoromethanesulfonyl)imide, [C3(NEt2)3][N(SO2CF3)2]

For our recent work on ionic liquids, see:

Synthesis and physical properties of tris(dialkylamino)cyclopropenium bistriflamide ionic liquids: Kelvin J. Walst, Ruhamah Yunis, Paul M. Bayley, Douglas R. MacFarlane, Callum J. Ward, Ruomeng Wang and Owen J. Curnow*, RSC Advances2015, 5, 39565–39579.

          index pub


A general review on ionic liquids has appeared in Chemistry in New Zealand:

Ionic liquids: Some of their remarkable properties and some of their applications: Owen J. Curnow, Chemistry in New Zealand, 2012, 76, 118–122.

Group vacancies:

We do not currently have any funding to support either Postdocs, or PhD students. However we are actively looking for prospective PhD students, who should therefore apply for a University scholarship to fund their studies. Please contact Owen Curnow by email if this is the case.


  • Phone: +64 3 364 2100
    Fax: +64 3 364 2110
  • Department of Chemistry
    University of Canterbury
    Private Bag 4800, Christchurch
    New Zealand
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