Barnard - Synthetic organic and inorganic chemistry

Our interests lie in the synthesis of coordination complexes for diagnostic imaging applications and sensor development.

We specialize in small molecule organic and inorganic synthesis in combination with a wide range of analytical techniques for the generation and characterization of new compounds, including NMR, UV/vis, fluorescence, electrochemistry, and X-ray crystallography.

Research areas

Synthesis of luminescent and electrochemiluminescent coordination compounds

We are working on the synthesis of luminescent coordination complexes of metals including gold, ruthenium and iridium and the lanthanides for use as biological imaging agents and for sensor development. A number of ligand systems are under investigation and we have a particular focus on N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs). Previously we reported the first examples of electrochemiluminescent Ru(II) and Ir(III) complexes of NHC ligands and more recently we described a novel stepwise synthetic methodology for the preparation of heterobimetallic Group 11 and 12 complexes of symmetric ‘pincer type’ NHC ligands.

Radiopharmaceutical imaging agents

This is a collaborative project with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organization (ANSTO) involving the development of ligand systems for applications in radiopharmaceutical imaging agent development. A number of ligand systems are being used in combination with metallic radionuclides such as Tc-99m, Cu-64 and Zr-89. Technetium-99m is the most widely used radionuclide in medical imaging and a wide array of Tc-99m labelled compounds are routinely used in diagnostic imaging. All isotopes of Tc are radioactive and new chemistry is often developed using Re and we have prepared a number of Re(I) complexes of NHC ligands and we recently reported the first example of a NHC ligand being labelled with Tc-99/99m.

Coordination chemistry of amide containing molecules

The amide or peptide functional group is critical to life and provide the linkage between adjacent amino acid residues in proteins. Amides also display interesting coordination chemistry, where the nitrogen atom can deprotonate and coordinate to a metal ion.

We are developing novel ligands incorporating amide groups in combination with other donors such as amines and NHCs. A particular focus is the synthesis of new cage ligands incorporating amide groups. We recently reported a triamidetriamine macrobicyclic cage ligand and evaluated its potential for radiopharmaceutical applications in combination with the positron emitting isotope: Cu-64.

Meet the team

Group members

Barnard groupGroup leader

Dr Peter Barnard

PhD students

Rebecca Karmis
Zili Li
Peter Nguyen
Pria Ramkissoon
Nuchareenat Wiratpruk
Tahmineh Hashemzadeh
Stacie Andriopoulos

Masters student

Quoc Dat Duong


See a full list of publications on Google Scholar [external link], ResearcherID [external link] or view Dr Peter Barnard's profile.