Hunt Research Group

The Hunt Research Group is a theoretical and computational chemistry group which carries out theoretical development and computational modeling.

Our research is focused towards understanding the chemistry and physics associated with solvents and solvation, particularly as this applies to ionic-liquids and deep eutectic solvents.

We study the making and breaking of molecules. This includes catalytic mechanisms (for group II and frustriated lewis acid-base pairs) and chemical decomposition (for green fuels, bio-fuels and ionic-liquids).

Overarching all of these areas is a specialisation in hydrogen-bonding, acid-base interactions and an expertise in the MO theory of bonding. We have developed the Effective MO Method for interrogating the electronic structure of liquids and study charge partitioning and interactions within molecules.

Dr. Hunt's picture fellow_RS fellow_RS

Molecular orbital of the month

Hydrogen bonding is a very special type of weak interaction that has an incredible impact on the behaviour of liquids. Here we are looking at Hydrogen-bonding in an ionic liquid system (emimOAc-HOAc), where the ionic liquid (emimOAc) is disrupting the ability of the acetic acid (HOAc) to act as an acid. Acetic acid is the molecule that makes vinegar smell, and acidic! This MO has spread over all the components of the system, including the acetic acid, and hence impacts the acidity of the acetic acid molecule.

Latest News

Tricia giving a plenary lecture, students presenting at a conference and a large grant is funded.
Plenary Lecture

Tricia gave a plenary talk at the 27th international Thermodynamics conference, in Bath UK.


In charged molecules the individual atoms carry small pieces charge, these do not always reflect the total charge on the ion. For example, an atom in an anion can carry a high positive charge! This talk explored how to calculate the partial charges and what information the partial charges impart. How we think about the partial charges influences the chemistry we attempt, thus partial charges can have a strong influence on the development of an ionic liquid.

Student Success

Julian has presented a talk and Gavin has given a poster at ASIL: the 10th Australasian Symposium on Ionic Liquids


Gavin was part of the group that won "best presentation" at the 2022 Doctoral Training Camp for PhD students involved in the National Health Protection Research Units (HPRUs). Gavin is part of the Chemical and Radiation Threats and Hazards sub-theme where he is studying Ionic Liquids for the Decomposition of Chemical Warfare Agents

Marsden Grant Funded

We are very pleased to announce that the project Unravelling the electronic structure of highly charged hydrogen- and halogen- bonds; rational chemical design and the creation of novel ionic liquid materials has been funded.

Talking of H-bonding

Tricia has been talking about how hydrogen bonding makes water a "weird"" liquid on the BBC Radio 4 podcast The Curious Cases of Rutherford & Fry. Two episodes:
The Weirdness of Water Part 1
The Weirdness of Water Part 2

For the non-specialist:
find out more about water here!

To see more check out the links to the left