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Opening up New Oxidation States in Metallocene Chemistry Across the Periodic Table

Project Description

An EPSRC DTG-sponsored PhD studentship is available for an outstanding and ambitious chemist to undertake research in the field of synthetic organometallic chemistry with the Mills group at Manchester. In this project we target complexes across the Periodic Table with precise geometrical features in order to maximise targeted physicochemical properties. Such complexes, which can exhibit unusual oxidation states, coordination environments and reactivity profiles, will predominantly be supported by cyclopentadienyl and phospholyl ligands. The successful candidate, based in the laboratory of Dr David Mills and co-supervised by Dr Nicholas Chilton, will synthesise and fully characterise a novel, exciting series of highly air- and moisture-sensitive complexes. When appropriate, we will analyse the physical properties of these complexes using a wide variety of techniques including SQUID magnetometry, luminescence, EPR and X-ray absorption spectroscopy, and ab initio calculations.

Informal enquires about the position are welcome to

Candidates should have or expect to obtain a first class or upper-second class degree, specialising in Chemistry. Experience of practical synthetic chemistry, especially air-sensitive chemistry (Schlenk lines and glove boxes) 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 a cover letter and CV with your application. Please quote reference number DM_225 in all correspondence. The cover letter should describe your research interests and motivation for the proposed project in a short paragraph. Please see the application process at:

The School is committed to Athena SWAN principles to promote women in science; the School’s website documenting activity in this area can be found at:

The University of Manchester values a diverse workforce and welcomes applications from all sections of the community.

Funding Notes

Funded by an EPSRC DTG and awarded by the School of Chemistry. The funding covers tuition fees and a stipend for 3.5 years (£14,777p.a. in 2018/19).
Open to UK/EU applicants only.
We expect the Programme to commence in September 2019.


For references related to the project, see:

1. Molecular magnetic hysteresis at 60 K in dysprosocenium; C. A. P. Goodwin, F. Ortu, D. Reta, N. F. Chilton, D. P. Mills, Nature, 2017, 548, 439.
2. Synthesis and Electronic Structures of Heavy Lanthanide Metallocene Cations; C. A. P. Goodwin, D. Reta, F. Ortu, N. F. Chilton, D. P. Mills, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139, 18714.
3. Actinide covalency measured by pulsed electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy; A. Formanuik, A. M. Ariciu, F. Ortu, R. Beekmeyer, A. Kerridge, F. Tuna, E. J. L. McInnes, D. P. Mills, Nature Chemistry 2017, 9, 578.
4. Terbocenium: completing a heavy lanthanide metallocenium cation family with an alternative anion abstraction strategy; C. A. P. Goodwin, D. Reta, F. Ortu, J. Liu, N. F. Chilton, D. P. Mills, Chem. Commun., 2018, 54, 9182.
5. The first near-linear bis(amide) f-block complex: a blueprint for a high temperature single molecule magnet; N. F. Chilton, C. A. P. Goodwin, D. P. Mills, R. E. P. Winpenny, Chem. Commun. 2015, 51, 101.

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