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Fluorinated NHC ligands – predisposing metal complexes as better catalysts.

Project Description

An EPSRC DTA funded 42 month PhD Studentship is available for an outstanding chemist to work on the synthesis, characterisation and catalytic applications of fluorinated NHC ligands and their complexes within the School of Chemistry in Manchester.
In a wide range of traditional catalytic systems phosphorus(III) ligands have been replaced by N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs), usually leading to more effective catalysts. However systematic inclusion of fluorine, despite the steric and electronic impact that arise from such substitutions, has been little investigated. This project will build upon recent work to prepare and characterise a series of fluorine-containing NHC ligands, that are predisposed to generate highly-active, well-defined metal complexes. The activity of these complexes in a number of key catalytic systems will be investigated and probed in order to understand the factors that lead to their efficacy. The successful candidate will work at the interface of organic and inorganic chemistry, based in the research group of Dr Alan Brisdon, with expertise in the synthesis of fluorinated ligands and metal catalysts, and will be co-supervised by Prof. Igor Larrosa with expertise in applied and mechanistic catalysis.

Candidates should have, or expect to obtain, a first class or upper-second class degree in Chemistry. A strong practical synthetic chemistry background in relevant areas is essential, and experience of working with air-sensitive compounds (e.g. Schlenk lines) would be advantageous, although training will be provided. You should be capable of working under your own initiative and working within a small research team, so excellent communication and organisational skills are also required.

Please submit with your application a CV and covering letter, which should describe your research interests and motivation for the proposed project in a short paragraph.

Contact for further Information:
Alan Brisdon or

Funding Notes

The funding covers tuition fees and a stipend for 3.5 years, starting in around September 2019 (£15,009 p.a. in 2019/20).

Due to funding restrictions the studentship is open to UK and EU nationals only.

We expect the programme to start in September 2019.


(i) See for example, AK Brisdon, H Ali Ghaba, B Beutel, A Ejgandi, A Adderadi, RG. Pritchard, Dalton Trans., 2015, 44, 19717; AK Brisdon, CJ Herbert, Coord. Chem. Rev., 2013, 257, 880; AK. Brisdon, RG. Pritchard, A Thomas, Organometallics, 2012, 31, 1341
(ii) See for example, M Font, ARA. Spencer, I Larrosa, Chem Sci, 2018, 9, 7133; M Simonetti, DM Cannas, X Just-Barringo, IJ Vitorica-Yrezebal, I Larrosa, Nature Chem., 2018, 10, 724; BJ Groombridge, SM Goldup, I Larrosa, Chem. Commun., 2015, 51, 3832.

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