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About the Project

Project Background:

Driven by the need to reduce the impact of climate change, global demand for sustainable and economically viable processes is of utmost importance. One method to achieve this is to use waste emissions (such as carbon dioxide) and incorporate them into value added products, this represents a significant challenge due to the high thermodynamic stability of the small molecules found within emissions. Activation of these inert bonds typically requires a catalyst in which transition metals have played a prominent role. However, due to their high cost and limited long-term supply development of viable alternatives is paramount. This timely research project aims to design and develop new catalysts based upon main group (s- and p-block) metal centres namely aluminium and magnesium, the third and seventh most abundant elements found within the Earth’s crust, respectively. Furthermore, the catalysts targeted are novel since they will combine two main group metal centres in a direct metal-metal bond within the bimetallic framework. This will develop our fundamental understanding of chemical bonding and open-up new reactivity pathways not accessible to monometallic compounds. For background to this work see:

(1) C. Weetman, Chem. Eur. J., 2020, DOI: 10.1002/chem.202002939

(2) C. Weetman, P. Bag, T. Silvási, C. Jandl, S. Inoue, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2019, 58, 10961-10968

(3) C. Weetman, A. Porzelt, P. Bag, F. Hanusch, S. Inoue, Chem. Sci., 2020, 11, 4817-4827

Project aims:

(a)   Synthesis and characterisation of novel main group metal-metal bonded complexes

(b)   Screening their reactivity towards small molecules

(c)    Catalytic studies

Research Skills:

Training will be provided in Inert atmosphere techniques (Schlenk line, glove box), Multinuclear NMR spectroscopy, X-ray crystallography and density functional theory (DFT) calculations.

Candidate requirements:

Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a First Class or good Upper Second-Class Honours degree (or equivalent) in Chemistry and a interest in inorganic/organometallic chemistry.


Informal enquiries are strongly encouraged and should be addressed to Dr Catherine Weetman ().

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