Dr Cameron Charles Weber

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Senior Lecturer

Biography

2019-Present Senior Lecturer, The University of Auckland

2017-2019 Lecturer, Auckland University of Technology

2015-2017 Marie Skłodowska Curie Individual Fellow, Imperial College London with Prof. Tom Welton

2014-2015 Research Associate, Imperial College London with Prof. Tom Welton

2013-2014  Research Associate, Massachusetts Institute of Technology with Prof. Allan Myerson

2009-2013  PhD, The University of Sydney with A/Prof. Tony Masters and Prof. Thomas Maschmeyer

2005-2008  BSc(Adv)(Hons), The University of Sydney, Hons with A/Prof. Tony Masters and Prof. Thomas Maschmeyer

Research | Current

My research is broadly focused on the understanding and use of intermolecular interactions to achieve more sustainable chemical processes. Central to this is an understanding of solvents and solvent effects, particularly within new classes of solvents such as ionic liquids and deep eutectic solvents. By understanding these effects we aim to develop new solvents that can perform existing processes more effectively by influencing reaction rates, solution equilibria or solubility; or design entirely new processes. Projects span a range of traditional areas within chemical science and feature collaborations with other research groups both within the School of Chemical Sciences as well as with national and international collaborators.

Examples of some areas of interest are highlighted below:

Controlling Reactivity using Structured Solvents

Ionic liquids and deep eutectic solvents that contain amphiphilic ions are capable of forming nanostructures that possess well-defined polar and non-polar regions. These nanostructures offer the possibility of controlling chemical reactivity not only through direct solvent-solute interactions but also by affecting how solutes partition within the solvent. We are interested in understanding the formation of these nanostructures and their influence on chemical reactivity towards designing and developing new solvents capable of facilitating complex multistep reactions in a more efficient manner which generates less chemical waste.

Solvents for More Selective Separations and Extractions

We are interested in the development of new, non-hazardous solvents to accomplish the selective extraction and separation of high value compounds from renewable sources or for use in the processing of pharmaceuticals. Solvent design is informed by our understanding of solvent effects and the use of empirical and theoretical methods of classifying solvent properties. 

New Approaches to Metal-Free Hydrogenation

The ability to perform catalytic hydrogenation chemistry without the use of transition metals has rapidly developed over the past decade. We have discovered that solvent selection can have a significant impact on the performance of these catalysts and are exploring the synergistic combination of solvent and catalyst selection to increase the scope of metal-free hydrogenation chemistry with the aim of reducing the use of toxic, scarce and environmentally hazardous transition metal catalysts.

Solvent Effects on Intermolecular Forces

It has been recently appreciated that halogens, pnictogens and chalcogens can participate in so-called sigma-hole interactions where the halogen, pnictogen or chalcogen interacts with an electron rich acceptor atom, akin to the more well-known hydrogen bond. One of the remarkable features of these interactions is that they are generally unaffected by solvent polarity, unlike hydrogen bonding interactions. We are interested in exploring the generality of this effect in unconventional media and the development of these interactions in the design of new functional materials. 

Teaching | Current

CHEM110 Chemistry of the Living World

CHEM254 Modelling Chemical Processes

CHEM260 Introduction to Green Chemistry

CHEM360 Contemporary Green Chemistry

CHEM397 Capstone: Green Chemical Science (Coordinator)

CHEM760 Advanced Green Chemistry (Coordinator)

CHEM793 Honours Dissertation in Chemistry (Coordinator)

Postgraduate supervision

PhD 

Navjot Kaur Kahlon

Kapish Gobindlal (with Assoc. Prof. Jonathan Sperry)

Navneet Kaur Brar

Danilo Perez (with Prof. Tek-Tjing Lie, AUT)

Masters

Bhavana Kapila

Henry Gao

Marcus Lee (with Dr Erin Leitao)

Luke Park (with Dr Erin Leitao)

BSc(Hons)

Roland Brown

Emma Matthewman

Sahil Patel

Responsibilities

Co-Deputy Director of the Centre for Green Chemical Science

Chair of the Auckland Branch of the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry

Areas of expertise

Solvent effects

Ionic liquids

Intermolecular forces

Deep eutectic solvents

Reaction kinetics and mechanism

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Perez, D., Lie, T. T., & Weber, C. C. (2020). Relative electrode size and organic load effects on the energy storage efficiency of microbial electrolysis cells. Bioresource Technology Reports, 11.10.1016/j.biteb.2020.100518
  • Yalcin, D., Welsh, I. D., Matthewman, E. L., Jun, S. P., Mckeever-Willis, M., Gritcan, I., ... Weber, C. C. (2020). Structural investigations of molecular solutes within nanostructured ionic liquids. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 22 (20), 11593-11608. 10.1039/D0CP00783H
  • Weber, C. C., Brooks, N. J., Castiglione, F., Mauri, M., Simonutti, R., Mele, A., & Welton, T. (2019). On the structural origin of free volume in 1-alkyl-3-methylimidazolium ionic liquid mixtures: a SAXS and 129Xe NMR study. Physical chemistry chemical physics : PCCP, 21 (11), 5999-6010. 10.1039/c9cp00587k
  • Weber, C. C. (2018). Imidazolium Hydroxides and Catalysis. In P. Lozano (Ed.) Sustainable Catalysis in Ionic Liquids. Boca Raton, FL, USA: CRC Press. 10.1201/9781315148694-4
  • Daud, N. M. A. N., Bakis, E., Hallett, J. P., Weber, C. C., & Welton, T. (2017). Evidence for the spontaneous formation of N-heterocyclic carbenes in imidazolium based ionic liquids. Chemical communications (Cambridge, England), 53 (81), 11154-11156. 10.1039/c7cc06112a
  • Brooks, N. J., Castiglione, F., Doherty, C. M., Dolan, A., Hill, A. J., Hunt, P. A., ... Simonutti, R. (2017). Linking the structures, free volumes, and properties of ionic liquid mixtures. Chemical science, 8 (9), 6359-6374. 10.1039/c7sc01407d
  • Kunov-Kruse, A. J., Weber, C. C., Rogers, R. D., & Myerson, A. S. (2017). The A Priori Design and Selection of Ionic Liquids as Solvents for Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients. Chemistry (Weinheim an der Bergstrasse, Germany), 23 (23), 5498-5508. 10.1002/chem.201605704
  • Matthews, R. P., Villar-Garcia, I. J., Weber, C. C., Griffith, J., Cameron, F., Hallett, J. P., ... Welton, T. (2016). A structural investigation of ionic liquid mixtures. Physical chemistry chemical physics : PCCP, 18 (12), 8608-8624. 10.1039/c6cp00156d

Identifiers

Contact details

Primary office location

SCIENCE CENTRE 302 - Bldg 302
Level 10, Room 1065
23 SYMONDS ST
AUCKLAND CENTRAL
AUCKLAND 1010
New Zealand

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