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Design and Application of Heavy Atom-Free and Redox-Active Organic Triplet Photosensitizers

Project Description

We will unlock pathways for excited-state electron transfer that involves changes in orbital angular momentum by computation-assisted molecular design.

The well-established synthetic methodologies make these organic triplet chromophores especially appealing as their thermodynamic and kinetic properties can be tailored at will.


Visible-light assisted chemical transformation has come forward as a powerful mode of small-molecule activation in conjunction with the quest for sustainable chemistry. This approach harnesses solar power to produce excited-state reactants, and allows the energy-demanding reactions, such as CO2 fixation, to proceed at mild conditions.

Despite their limited earth-abundance, the popularity of inorganic photosensitizers in this field stems from the long lifetime and strong redox power in their easily-formed triplet excited states. However, triplet formation from heavy atom-free, photo-redox organic materials is often regarded as an inefficient process, leading them to receive little attention from relevant applications.

Project aims and methods

You are expected in the first 1.5-2 years to uncover the leading design strategies with the major activity on materials synthesis and photophysical studies.

You will conduct collaborative optical and electron-paramagnetic spectroscopic work to interrogate the molecular property and triplet forming mechanism primarily in the solution phase. The homogenous solution phase also allows for establishing catalytic schemes by sensitizing reactants/catalysts with our triplet chromophores. This application-oriented work is the focus of the third year.

Since solid-state triplet-producing materials are sought-after for optoelectronic and sensing applications, we will also study the (crystalline) solid materials where molecular packing further perturbs the excited-state dynamics.

While this project is concerned mostly with the triplet formation and harvesting, the results will also be valuable for research fields, such as MRI contrasting, singlet fission, OLED, and spintronics, where high-spin intermediates are of great importance.

Start date: 1st October 2019


Dr Yi-Lin Wu

Professor Damien Murphy

Funding Notes

Full awards (fees plus maintenance stipend) are open to UK Nationals and EU students who can satisfy UK residency requirements. To be eligible for the full award, EU Nationals must have been in the UK for at least three years prior to the start of the course for which they are seeking funding, including for the purposes of full-time education.

Please click link below for more information

Related Subjects

How good is research at Cardiff University in Chemistry?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 23.00

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