This fundamental work is part of a CDT Theme in Sustainable Chemistry focussed on understanding the catalytic process at the molecular level. These will range from gas-phase laser spectroscopic studies of small molecules interacting with single metal atoms, the deposition and study of sputtered metal nanoparticles, the study of molecules interacting with MOFs, reactions inside carbon nanotubes, and the study of “real” catalysts. The work will be underpinned by a gas-phase laser spectroscopy on cold (< 10 K) molecules and clusters, surface spectroscopy, electron microscopy and a range of quantum chemistry and modelling studies. Students will be able to tailor their project and training according to their interests (one of the main benefits of a CDT) and may select to focus on fundamental studies, more applied studies, theoretical studies, or a mixture of some or all of these.
The overall theme is entitled ‘Dial-a-Catalyst’ and is one of four multidisciplinary research thematic areas within EPSRC and SFI CT in Sustainable Chemistry – Atoms2Products.
The long-term aim of the research is the development of the new generation of nanocatalysts that combine the best features of homogenous (high activity and selectivity) and heterogeneous catalyst (high stability and recyclability) and their application in some of the most important reactions for the chemical industry (e.g. CO2 utilisation and ammonia synthesis). Once developed, the unique catalytic properties of the novel nanocatalysis will be evaluated by: (i) in situ and in operando methods, to understand the interaction between metals and small molecules (e.g. CO2, N2, H2), ii) in catalytic reactions using batch and flow reactors at the laboratory level and at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and Siemens semi-industrial nanocatalyst test facility. In this project, we (PhD students and academic mentors) will make a step change in the understanding of molecular-level interaction that will lead to the design and fabrication of nanocatalysts solving a number of challenges of the chemical industry.
In addition to their research projects the students will also benefit from the following thematic training activities:
Candidates should hold one of the following:
For more information about the programme and to apply, please visit the website.
Due to funding restrictions, studentships are available to Home and EU applicants only.