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Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) to mitigate air pollution

Project Description

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are high surface area materials based on metal nodes/clusters and organic linkers. MOFs are highly tuneable enabling them to be tailored towards gaseous pollutant capture and separation.
Microwave technology is a tremendously promising method for MOF synthesis; it has been used to prepare MOFs and MOF-hybrids otherwise difficult to isolate or unobtainable through other synthetic routes. Additionally, we have shown that microwave heating can be used to prepare MOFs with tremendously enhanced uptake of polluting dioxides.[1]
Building upon this research, the PhD project will investigate the synthesis of novel MOFs (e.g. mixed metal, core-shell, and defect materials) using our bespoke microwave heating systems (batch and continuous flow) for use in applications addressing major world-wide concerns in environmental air pollution.
The properties of the new MOFs and their host/guest interactions will be investigated using a wide range of techniques. The student will acquire skills in laboratory synthesis and analytical chemistry, crystallography and materials characterization. This highly interdisciplinary project combines innovations in both synthesis and cutting edge materials characterisation to produce materials with enhanced and superior properties.
Benefits and facilities:
Work of the group is underpinned by unique experimental facilities and leading characterisation suites including X-ray diffraction, gas sorption, and the Nanoscale and Microscale Research Centre (nMRC). There will also be opportunities for working with our collaborators at the Universities of Newcastle and Manchester, Diamond Light Source, and The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (Oxfordshire).

Funding Notes

The PhD position is available from 1st October 2020 (earlier start dates will be considered). The studentship covers both tuition fees and a tax-free student stipend at RCUK rates (£15,009 per annum for 2019/20 academic year). Duration is 3 years.

We are seeking an enthusiastic and highly motivated person with good interpersonal skills and a keen interest in research. The candidate must have, or expect to obtain a first-class or 2:1 degree, or a distinction or high merit at MSc level (or international equivalent) in chemistry, physics or materials science. .


[1] I. Thomas-Hillman, L. A. Stevens, M. Lange, J. Möllmer, W. Lewis, C. Dodds, S. W. Kingman and A. Laybourn, Green Chem., 2019, 21, 5039-5045.

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