Magnetic circular dichroism (MCD) spectroscopy is used to determine the electronic structure of metal centres, and the coordination/geometry of the metal environment. This makes it a powerful tool in the study of the active sites of metallo-proteins.

MCD spectroscopy is particularly suitable to the study of transition metal or lanthanide centres where there is a component of unquenched angular momentum.

The technique is enhanced at low temperatures and high magnetic fields. Through an analysis of the temperature/magnetic field dependence it is possible to gain polarised spectroscopic information from a non-oriented sample (for example, a solution/glass).

Contact us

Contact Associate Professor Mark Riley for more information and bookings.

Equipment and location


The MCD spectrometer was built in collaboration with Lastek Pty Ltd and is based on a high-throughput/high-resolution Jobin Yvon 750s monochromator and an Oxford Instruments SpectroMag superconducting magnet.

Several light sources, detectors and gratings make the instrument very versatile, with a wavelength range of 220nm to 3000nm. The spectra can be measured from 1.6K to 300K in magnetic fields of +/- 7.0 Tesla.

The facility is one of only two in Australia and especially targets the study of the structure and function of metallo-proteins.

Types of experiment:

  • variable temperature/variable field
  • circular dichroism
  • linear dichroism
  • polarimetry.


Chemistry Building (Building 68), Room 103

Sample requirements

Samples are usually measured as a frozen solution of an isotropic glass. Glycerol (50%) can be used as a glassing agent for aqueous solutions of proteins.

Volumes of 50ml to 200ml are required.

For non-aqueous systems other glasses such as ethanol/methanol, dichloromethane/DMF can be used.

Charges and considerations


  • Experiments made at room temperature and low magnetic field: no cost
  • Experiments at low temperature and high magnetic field that require liquid helium to run the superconducting magnet: $2000 per week

Charges are the same for School and external users, and reflect actual consumable costs.


UQ users have priority of access.

You'll need to undertake the relevant building and other inductions before using equipment.