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Exploring the fundamental reactivity of different species present in “GaOTf” to understand better how they may play a role in catalysis

Department of Chemistry

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Dr J Slattery Applications accepted all year round Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

There has been a recent renaissance in main group chemistry that has led to a number of new, high-profile research areas, including frustrated Lewis pair (FLP) chemistry and many more. One of the drivers behind this work is the search for main-group-element systems that can play a role in synthesis and catalysis. By using cheap and abundant main-group elements, instead of expensive, rare and often toxic, precious metal it is hoped that cheaper and more sustainable synthetic methodologies will be developed.

In recent years the Slattery group have been interested in the development of novel routes to low oxidation state gallium compounds. Recent work has highlighted the interesting and varied speciation in samples of “GaOTf”, a promising new Ga(I) source. This project will investigate these systems in more detail and explore the fundamental reactivity of different species present in “GaOTf” in order to understand better how they may play a role in catalysis. For example, we will probe the potential for both oxidative addition and then subsequent reductive elimination, key steps in many catalytic reactions, of different substrates at gallium centres. This will pave the way for the development of new catalytic reactions of importance in areas such the pharmaceutical and agrochemical industries.

The student will be given broad training in synthetic chemistry, in particular the synthesis, handling and characterisation of highly air- and moisture-sensitive samples. NMR spectroscopy, mass spectrometry and X-ray crystallography will be key characterisation tools. In addition to synthetic training, the student will be shown how to use and interpret data from high-level computational chemistry studies. This synergy between experimental and theoretical work gives great insight into this type of system and allows for a particularly broad training programme that will enhance the employability of the student after graduation.

All Chemistry research students have access to our innovative Doctoral Training in Chemistry (iDTC): cohort-based training to support the development of scientific, transferable and employability skills:

The Department of Chemistry holds an Athena SWAN Gold Award and is committed to supporting equality and diversity for all staff and students. The Department strives to provide a working environment which allows all staff and students to contribute fully, to flourish, and to excel:

You should expect hold or expect to achieve the equivalent of at least a UK upper second class degree in Chemistry or a related subject. Please check the entry requirements for your country:

Funding Notes

This project is available to students from any country who can fund their own studies. The Department of Chemistry at the University of York is pleased to offer Wild Fund Scholarships. Applications are welcomed from those who meet the PhD entry criteria from any country outside the UK. Scholarships will be awarded on supervisor support, academic merit, country of origin, expressed financial need and departmental strategy. For further details and deadlines, please see our website:

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