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KESS2 East PhD in Chemistry: Synthesis of thermochromic Spin Crossover (SCO) molecules

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Sunday, March 31, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

This project will innovate novel thermochromic molecules by accessing the research expertise and knowledge base in the group of Prof. D. Bonifazi in the School of Chemistry.


Thermochromic materials change reversibly colour with changes in temperature and represent important components to be integrated into sensing technologies. Current thermochromic materials require the presence of at least three chemicals, which need to be i) maintained in its exact initial percentage to achieve performance expected through its whole life cycle, ii) thermally and chemically stable and iii) non-toxic. To overcome these limitations, materials that are constituted by only one non-toxic component should be developed. The PhD student will receive intense training in many areas of synthetic organic and organometallic chemistry, and physical chemistry at Cardiff University. Collaboration with TMC HALLCREST will provide training in new technology, analytic method development, device engineering, optical property against temperature, formulation as ink coating.

Project aims and methods

The main aim of the project is to develop colour changing organometallic complexes ideally not based on hazardous chemicals and easily tuneable either by organic ligand change or by outer coordination sphere alteration. The activities are centred on the:
•Development of synthetic pathways of organic ligands and metal complexes that have to be economically viable and achievable in mild conditions.
•Determination of the temperature-dependent colour change, and this is defined as the temperature loop where the colour change complex is moving from a full colour status to clearly state.
•Physical characterisation of the materials (UV-vis absorption properties, EPR, TGA).
•Determination of the optoelectronic properties.
•Development of a thermochromic device and determination of its performances (colour, speed, chemical and physical stability).

The student will receive training in key skills such as data/literature analysis, oral and electronic presentation, scientific communication and problem solving through weekly group seminar. The interplay of the student with external speakers and industrial visitors and the participation in seminars and workshops will provide a unique training experience, both in depth and breadth and in a multidisciplinary learning environment. Regularly documented student appraisals will evaluate training needs, career development and project progress. This is supported by regular informal meetings (academic supervisor - partner supervisor - student) to identify new opportunities and to direct resources. The student will have access to TMC Hallcrest facilities through several secondments, where strong expertise in temperature measurement using colour change and calibration of colour change products can be shared. Ageing and stability of the materials will be performed at TMC Hallcrest where equipment is dedicated to long term stability evaluation.

Supervisor - Professor Davide Bonifazi -

Start date - 1st July 2019

Funding Notes

Applicants for these awards must have a home or work address in the relevant area* of Wales (East or West) at the time of their
application for funding and enrolment.

East Wales region is comprised of seven local authorities: Cardiff, Flintshire, Monmouthshire, Newport, Powys, Vale of Glamorgan and Wrexham.

Please click below for more information

How good is research at Cardiff University in Chemistry?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 23.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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