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PhD in Chemistry - Cluster Anion Substitution in Metal-Organic Frameworks

   College of Science and Engineering

   Applications accepted all year round  Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Bright, highly motivated candidates are invited to apply for a fully funded 3.5 year PhD position in the School of Chemistry, available to commence on 1st October 2023 in the Forgan research group at the University of Glasgow,

Postsynthetic modification of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) has proven a hugely powerful tool to tune physical properties and introduce functionality, by exploiting reactive sites on both the MOF linkers and their inorganic secondary building units (SBUs), and so has facilitated a wide range of applications. To date, studies into the reactivity of MOF SBUs have focussed solely on removal of neutral coordinating solvents, or direct exchange of linkers such as carboxylates, despite the prevalence of ancillary charge-balancing oxide and hydroxide ligands found in many SBUs. We have recently shown that bridging hydroxide ligands can be substituted for bridging methoxide units through postsynthetic reaction with pore-bound methanol, and that the efficacy of this cluster anion substitution process can be enhanced by both heat and pressure (ChemRxiv 2022, DOI: 10.26434/chemrxiv-2022-wmrjp). In this studentship, we will examine the scope of this process across different MOFs and different substrates, and develop cluster anion substitution into a general protocol. In doing so, we will examine (i) the effect of pore-functionalisation on MOF flexibility and guest uptake, and (ii) the potential for heterogeneous catalysis, as bridging methoxide units have been implicated as intermediates in the mechanisms of a number of MOF-based catalytic reactions.

The ideal candidate will hold (or expect to hold) a 1st or upper 2nd class MSc / MChem / BSc or equivalent, and have experience of inorganic synthesis, organic synthesis and crystallographic analysis. The student can expect to become an expert in the design, synthesis and analysis of porous materials, through hands on experience of solid-state synthesis, crystallographic techniques, NMR spectroscopy and gas uptake measurement. The research lies at the crossroads of supramolecular chemistry, inorganic chemistry and synthetic chemistry, and the multidisciplinary nature of the work will require a student capable of administering international collaborations.

Prospective candidates may contact Prof Forgan for information by email – – with a CV and cover letter, for informal enquiries.

How to Apply: Please refer to the following website for details on how to apply:

Funding Notes

Fully funded Scholarship (EPSRC) for home fees and stipend. Funding covers home fees only. Exceptional international students will be considered for an international tuition fee waiver.

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