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Cold Sulfur: Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry for Temperature Dependent Chemical Reaction Kinetics


   School of Chemistry

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  Dr Julia Lehman  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

The study of chemistry occurring in low temperature environments is an excellent test of our understanding of the governing forces in molecular interactions and reactive collisions. Because of long range attractive forces, ions and radical neutral molecules should drive the gas phase reaction landscape in low temperature, low pressure environments, such as those relevant to areas of the interstellar medium (ISM). But what are the products from these reactions? Does the product branching ratio change as a function of temperature?

This project focuses on using a combination of laser techniques to probe chemical reaction kinetics at low temperatures. You will work within a research group to build, optimize, and use a state-of-the-art time-of-flight mass spectrometer coupled to a molecular flow in order to measure reaction rate coefficients as a function of temperature. You will collect reaction rate information at the same time as mass spectra resulting in a wealth of information about the identity and reactivity of targeted organosulfur molecules. Your experimental work will be supported by computational fluid dynamics simulations, ab initio calculations, and simulations of the reaction kinetics under a variety of temperature and pressure conditions.

This is a well-rounded PhD studentship, during which you will receive a wide range of training, for example in communication skills, project management, and technical aspects (such as laser ionization techniques, kinetic methods, time-of-flight mass spectrometry, optics, vacuum systems, and quantum chemical calculations). You will also receive training in writing and implementing computer-controlled data acquisition and analysis programs. The successful PhD student will have access to a broad spectrum of training workshops that include managing your degree and preparing for your viva, and support to attend both national and international conferences. 


Funding Notes

A highly competitive European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (ERC Starting Grant, HILTRAC, grant agreement No. [948525]). 3-year studentship consisting of UK fees of £4,600 and maintenance matching UKRI rates for 2022/23 (currently £15,609 for session 2021/22). This opportunity is open to UK applicants only. All candidates will be placed into the European Research Council (ERC) Studentship competition and selection is based on academic merit.

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