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Directed Self-Assembly of Organometallic Complexes as Novel Electronic Constructs

School of Chemistry

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Dr L Adriaenssens , Dr M Watkins , Dr A-J Avestro No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Providing next-generation devices that satisfy society’s demands for a sustainable future presents a major challenge to the electronics industry. All conductive and semi-conductive materials rely on networks of overlapping atomic and molecular orbitals. The geometrical relationships between the atomic and molecular components of these materials defines orbital overlap and plays a major role in defining the material’s electronic properties and function. Understanding this relationship is a subject of intense current research.

In our group, we employ organometallic complexes as the molecular building blocks for electronically-active materials. Organometallic complexes can be designed to stabilise either positive or negative charges. Through intermolecular overlap of ligand π orbitals, this charge can be spread through systems of neighbouring organometallic complexes, creating efficient routes for charge transport (i.e., electrons or holes).

To engineer orbital overlap, we take advantage of self-assembly processes that create crystalline materials featuring defined architectures of closely-packed organometallic complexes. These architectures delineate regular and precise intermolecular relationships that translate to defined routes for charge transport.

You will work with a skilled interdisciplinary supervisory team (synthetic, physical, computational) to design and create these materials from the bottom up. To do this you will synthesise organometallic building blocks that you pre-program to self-assemble into electronically active crystals. According to your assembly instructions, these materials will comprise defined architectures of π systems that provide a route for electron transport, thereby governing electronic and photovoltaic properties.

As part of a secondment at the University of York (supervised by Dr Alyssa-Jennifer Avestro), you will build devices that incorporate the crystalline materials you create. Through these devices you will probe the fundamental electronic properties (conductivity, mobility, etc) of your materials. You will use this data to relate architecture to electronic function and build a fundamental molecular-level and large-scale picture of how your materials work.

Throughout the project you will be guided by a computational model you develop that explains and predicts the electronic behaviour of your materials (supervised by Dr Matt Watkins). You will use this model to design optimised 2nd generation materials for use in devices like field effect transistors (FETs). You will synthesize these materials and build and test these devices, placing your stamp on the field of molecular electronics.
Skills the candidate will learn
The student will become versed in organic and organometallic synthesis including Schlenk line and glovebox techniques. They will become proficient with characterisation techniques including, but not limited to, advanced NMR spectroscopy, mass spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction. At York, the student will gain exposure to thin-film electronic device construction, conductivity analysis of solid-state samples and advanced electron microscopies.
Ideal candidates
• should have, at a minimum, a 2.1 degree in chemistry or a related discipline
• can demonstrate skills and experience in (or an aptitude for mastering) the synthetic and computational components of chemistry
• are empathetic, kind, have great social skills, and enjoy working with others from diverse backgrounds
• communicate well in both written and spoken English
• can think deeply and take responsibility for the progress and quality of projects
How to apply
For the full application, please apply on the Lincoln website here:
Informal enquiries may be sent to Dr Louis Adriaenssens ([Email Address Removed]).
To be eligible for a full award a student must have no restrictions on how long they can stay in the UK and have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship (with some further constraint regarding residence for education. For a fees only award, a Student must be ordinarily resident in a member state of the EU, in the same way as UK Students must be ordinarily resident in the UK. For further information regarding residence requirements, please see the regulations:

Funding Notes

The University of Lincoln has received funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences research Council to establish a Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), which will provide skills training to foster the next generation of world-class research leadership in areas of strategic importance to both EPSRC and the University of Lincoln.
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