The University of Western Australia

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Duncan Wild

Dr Duncan Wild

Senior Lecturer
Molecular Sciences, School of

Contact details
School of Molecular Sciences
The University of Western Australia (M310)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 3178
+61 8 6488 1005
Personal homepage
Room 3.31, Bayliss Building, Perth campus
BSc PhD Melb.
Dr Duncan Wild completed a Bachelor of Science with Honours at the University of Melbourne, where he also undertook a PhD researching infrared spectroscopy of size-selected anion complexes and clusters.
In 2003 he received an Alexander Von Humbolt Fellowship to continue his research at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen Germany. During this time he investigated the timescales for energy relaxation of carotenoids, spectroscopy of neutral stilbene-alkane gas phase complexes, and assisted in the construction of a photoelectron spectrometer.
Dr Wild came to The University of Western Australia in 2007.
Key research
The research interests of the Wild research group are in the area of Physical Chemistry, however more specifically Laser Spectroscopy (both fundamental and applied spectroscopy).
We have constructed a spectrometer for recording photoelectron spectra of gas phase ionic complexes and clusters. The machine is a Time Of Flight mass spectrometer coupled to a PhotoElectron Spectrometer (or TOF-PES for short). Our group is also interested in supplementing the experimental results with high level theoretical calculations (ab initio, CCSD(T) with large basis sets, and CBS extrapolations).
Our new apparatus, a velocity map imaging spectrometer, is currently in the testing phase.

45. The Halide-Nitrogen Gas-Phase Clusters: Anion Photoelectron Spectoroscopy and High Level Ab Initio Calculations
K. M. L. Lapere, M. Kettner, P. D. Watson, A. J. McKinley, and D. A. Wild
J. Phys.Chem. A, 119, 9722-9728 (2015)

44. An Air Stable Nickel(0) Phosphite Precatalyst for Primary Alkyl Amine C-N Cross Coupling Reactions
S. S. Kampmann, B. W. Skelton, D. A. Wild, G. A. Koutsantonis, S. G. Stewart
Eur. J. Org. Chem., 2015, 5995-6004 (2015)

43. Influence of P-Bonded Bulky Substituents on the Electronic Interaction in Ferrocenyl Substituted Phospholes
D. Miesel, A. Hildebrandt, M. Korb, P.J. Low, D. A. Wild, and H.Lang
Chem. - Eur. J., 21, 11545-11559 (2015)

42. Tris(tri-o-tolyl phosphite-κP)nickel: A Coordinatively Unsaturated Nickel(0) Complex
S.S. Kampmann, B.W. Skelton, D.A. Wild, G.A. Koutsantonis, and S.G. Stewart
Acta Cryst. C, 71, 188-190 (2015)

41. Anion Photoelectron Spectroscopy And High Level Ab Initio Calculations of the Halide-Acetylene Dimer Complexes
D. A. R. Beckham, S. Conran, K. M. Lapere, M. Kettner, A. J. McKinley, and D. A. Wild
Chem. Phys. Lett., 619, 241-246 (2015)

40. The CH3CHOO ‘Criegee Intermediate’ and its Anion: Isomers, Infrared spectra, and W3-F12 Energetics
M. Kettner, A. Karton, A. J. McKinley, and D. A. Wild
Chem. Phys. Lett., 621, 193-198 (2015)


39. Sneaking up on the Criegee Intermediate From Below: Predicted Photoelectron Spectrum of the CH2OO- Anion and W3-F12 Electron Affinity of CH2OO
A. Karton, M. Kettner, D.A. Wild
Chem. Phys. Lett., 585, 15-20 (2013)


38. Anion Photoelectron Spectra and Ab Initio Calculations of the Iodide Carbon Monoxide Clusters: I-...(CO)n, n=1-4
K.M. Lapere, R.J. LaMacchia, L.H. Quak, M. Kettner, S.G. Dale, A.J. McKinley, D.A. Wild, J Phys Chem A, 116, 3577−3584 (2012)

37. The Bromide-Carbon Monoxide Gas Phase Complex: Anion Photoelectron Spectroscopy and Ab Initio Calculations
K.M. Lapere, R.J. LaMacchia, L.H. Quak, M. Kettner, S.G. Dale, A.J. McKinley, D.A. Wild, Aust J Chem, 65, 457-462 (2012)

36. Formation of Methanol From Methane and Water in an Electrical Discharge
M.P. Pearce, M. Bussemaker, P.D. Cooper, K.M. Lapere, D.A. Wild, and A.J. McKinley, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 14, 3444-3449 (2012)

35. From Little Things, Interesting Things Grow: Seemingly Simple Group 8 cyclopentadienyl Metal Halides
R.O. Fuller, C.S. Griffith, G.A. Koutsantonis, K.M. Lapere, B.W. Skelton, M.A. Spackman, A.H. White, and D.A. Wild, CrystEngComm,14, 812-818 (2012)

34. Supramolecular Interactions Between Hexabromoethane and Cyclopentadienyl Ruthenium Bromides: Halogen Bonding or Electrostatic Organisation.
R.O. Fuller, C.S. Griffith, G.A. Koutsantonis, K.M. Lapere, B.W. Skelton, M.A. Spackman, A.H. White, and D.A. Wild, CrystEngComm, 14, 804-811, (2012)


33. Infrared Spectra and Ab Initio Calculations of Fluoride-Acetylene Clusters: F-(HCCH)n, n = 3-6
D.A. Wild, Z. M. Loh, E. J. Bieske, Aust. J. Chem., 64, 633-637 (2011)

32. Anion photoelectron spectroscopy and Ab Initio Calculations of the Gas Phase Chloride-Carbon Monoxide Complex: Cl-...CO
K.M. Lapere, R.J. LaMacchia, L.H. Quak, A.J. McKinley, D.A. Wild, Chem. Phys. Lett., 504, 13-19 (2011)
Roles, responsibilities and expertise
Chemistry Honours Coordinator
Royal Australian Chemical Institute (CChem)
Honours and awards
2003 - Chancellors Prize for Excellence in PhD Research
2003 - Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship
2006 - Ramsay Memorial Fellowship
2010 - RACI Physical Chemistry Lecturer
CHEM1001 Chemistry: Properties and Energetics
CHEM2002 Analytical and Physical Chemistry
CHEM3005 Chemical Spectroscopy and Structure
CHEM2210 Structure Determination and Physical Chemistry (PSB)
CHEM3319 Analytical Chemistry and OH&S (PSB)
Useful links
I recommend this site for everything you might like to know about small chemical species (ions, radicals, and neutrals)

For our group website, visit
New and noteworthy
See our FaceBook page for news and updates on the research group
Current projects
Ion complex and cluster photoelectron spectroscopy

From a fundamental viewpoint, our research is aimed at characterising ionic clusters to attain an enhanced understanding of intermolecular interactions and to provide intimate details on the transition states of chemical reactions. The experimental targets we will investigate are of the form X-...Mn, where X is a halide anion (F- , Cl- , Br- , or I- ) and M is a neutral molecule (for example CO, N2, NO, O2, C2H2).

The Time Of Flight mass spectrometer coupled to a PhotoElectron Spectrometer (TOF-PES) is the piece of apparatus we use in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The machine enables us to characterise small complexes and clusters in the gas phase (see recent publications).
Using mass spectrometry we are able to select individual species out of the ensemble that we produce and ionise them using laser radiation.

Magnetic Bottle Photoelectron Spectrometer
The photoelectron spectrometer is a magnetic bottle type spectrometer, based on the design of Smalley and co-workers [Rev. Sci. Instrum. 58(11), 2131, (1987)]. A strong electromagnet produces a strongly divergent magnetic field, which maps onto a homogenous field within a flight tube. Ejected photoelectrons are captured, fly down the tube, and their time of flight is used to indicate their energy, and hence the origin. The flight tube, electromagnet, and other goodies were generously lent to us by Professor Mark Buntine (previously Adelaide, now Curtin University), and we are forever in his debt!

Velocity Map Imaging

We are in the process of constructing a new spectrometer which will produce results with far greater resolution. Check out our facebook page for the progress,

ab initio calculations

This work is aimed at firstly predicting, and later on understanding, the results of the spectroscopic experiments. We aim to predict gas phase cluster structures, energetics, and transition intensities. Work is currently underway to produce multi dimensional potential energy surfaces to better characterise the ionic clusters we attack with the TOF PES apparatus. As a part of this work we will also characterise the analogous neutral complexes allowing us to simulate the spectrum we record.
Research profile
Research profile and publications

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Last updated:
Tuesday, 3 November, 2015 2:39 PM