PhD in Chemistry - Microwave assisted synthesis of doped semiconductors for photocatalytic applications

   Cardiff School of Chemistry

  Dr J Edwards  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Microwave assisted synthesis of doped semiconductors for photocatalytic applications

Dr Jennifer Edwards ( is looking for a PhD student to develop a synthetic strategy for wet chemical, microwave assisted, targeted synthesis of sub-nanometre mono- and bimetallic clusters as semiconductor dopants.

Research in the Edwards group focusses on the development of novel materials for use in heterogeneous and photocatalysis. These materials are designed for a wide variety of sustainable chemical transformations, from water sanitisation and self-cleaning textiles to cleaning up large scale industrial processes.

Sub nanometre clusters contain multiple point defects (undercoordinated surfaces, edges and corners) that favour gas adsorption. Typical synthetic strategies are energy intensive and yield a low concentration of clusters that are filtered to select those of the correct diameter. Wet chemical strategies yield inhomogeneous particles sizes and use high temperature heating regimes, large volumes of water and generate halide rich waste. Here, you will develop a novel synthetic strategy based initial findings that small (<2 nm) stable Ru particles can be synthesised in 15 min under microwave radiation with minimal washing steps [1]. Bimetallic, core-shell nanoparticles (Au-Pd) nanoparticles can also be prepared using this technique [2]. The mechanism of nanoparticle formation under microwave heating is not understood and so is underdeveloped. In situ spectroscopy will probe the physical/chemical pathways that influence final nanoparticle properties (size, shape and (alloy) composition) at short timescales to understand the mechanism of cluster formation. Particle size and alloy composition will be evaluated post reaction using Aberration Corrected -Scanning transmission microscopy and X-ray Photoelectron spectroscopy.

Cluster doped show improved activity in numerous photocatalytic applications. The effect of the dopant on a semiconductor support will be studied, in parallel to evaluation of the materials for photocatalytic generation of H2O2 and reactive oxygen species.

[1] Howe, A. G. R.; Maunder, R.; Morgan, D. J.; Edwards, J. K., Rapid microwave-assisted polyol synthesis of TiO2-supported ruthenium catalysts for levulinic acid hydrogenation. Catalysts 2019, 9 (9).

[2] Howe, A. G. R.; Miedziak, P. J.; Morgan, D. J.; He, Q.; Strasser, P.; Edwards, J. K., One pot microwave synthesis of highly stable AuPd@Pd supported core-shell nanoparticles. Faraday Discussions 2018, 208, 409-425

Academic criteria

We require applicants to have a 2.2 BSc or equivalent to be considered for PhD study.

If English is not your first language that you must fulfil our English Language criteria before the start of your studies. Details of accepted English Language qualifications for admissions can be found here

How to apply

To apply please complete the online application - and state the project title and supervisor name

Cardiff University is committed to supporting and promoting equality and diversity and to creating an inclusive environment for all. We welcome applications from all members of the global community irrespective of age, disability, sex, gender identity, gender reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation.

Chemistry (6)

Funding Notes

This PhD post is open to self funded Home, EU and International students.

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