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Metal-organic nanosheets (MONs): Programmable 2D materials for use as sensors, catalysts, membranes and devices


Project Description

Two-dimensional nanomaterials such as graphene hold enormous potential for use in advanced electronics, energy, separation and composite materials applications. However, the simple chemical composition of many of these materials mean small changes in their structure can have a large effect on their properties making it difficult to optimise them for many applications.

Metal-organic materials combine the tunability of organic linkers with the unique properties of metal ions in a modular way which allows their structure and so chemical, electronic, optical and magnetic properties to be modified in a systematic way. Other metal organic materials such as frameworks (3D), polymers (1D) and cages (0D) have been extensively developed yet research into 2D metal-organic nanosheets (MONs) has only recently begun to be explored.

MONs display the high surface area and aspect ratios of 2D materials but have a modular structure which readily allows for tuning of their properties and introduction of new chemical functionalities. MONs can be used in suspension, deposited as thin films on surfaces or blended with other materials as composites. This combination of properties make them ideal for a wide range of applications including use as sensors, catalysts, membranes, composites and in electronic devices.

The Foster groups core expertise is in the design, synthesis, dispersion and characterisation of MONs. We’re interested in: understanding the rules governing the self-assembly and exfoliation of 2D metal-organic materials; creating concentrated, stable dispersions of MONs in different solvents; understanding the structure and properties of these complex materials over different length scales; understanding how MONs interact with molecules in solution and as composites. We then work with academic and industrial partners to realise the potential of MONs for use in different applications. Please take a look at our webpages for further information about our work and latest publications.

We are always looking to work with talented and motivated scientists. We are a multidisciplinary team and open to applications from candidates with backgrounds in chemistry, materials science, chemical engineering, physics and other related sciences. Projects can be adapted to suit your interests; either focused on the synthesis of novel organic ligands and frameworks, developing new techniques to characterise the nanosheets or focused on a specific application (or a mixture of the above).

If you’re interested in undertaking a PhD in our group, please get contact Dr Jonathan Foster using the link provided. Applicants should have (or expect to obtain) at least the equivalent of a 2.1 honours masters level degree in an appropriate subject. Enquiries should include a CV and cover letter outlining: your academic background, any research experience you have, why you are interested in working with us and details of how you plan to fund your stay.

Funding Notes

This is a self-funded project. The applicant should have or expect to gain at least an upper second class degree, or equivalent overseas qualification, in a relevant subject.

If you have the correct qualifications and access to your own funding, either from your home country or your own finances, your application to work with this supervisor will be considered.

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