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Plasma Mediated Carbon Dioxide Disassociation: Applications to organic Synthesis - Reference: CM/BB-Un3/2021


Department of Chemistry

About the Project

The aim of this adventurous project is to bridge plasma physics and organic chemistry to exploit the unique reactivity of CO2 in a nonthermal atmospheric pressure gas plasma. This unprecedented technology will enable, for the first time, atomic oxygen and carbon monoxide to be generated and utilised simultaneously from CO2 waste gas. Design and optimization of a versatile (‘reagentless’ widely applicable) reactor that provides clean and high yielding syntheses will be targeted.
Given the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the growing concerns about the environmental impact of chemical processes, carbon dioxide utilisation (CCUS) has received growing attention in recent years. The idea of using CO2 as a carbon source for organic synthesis has been known for some time. Indeed, CO2 has been used in the manufacture of salicylic acid, urea and cyclic carbonates for 50-100 years. However, due to its relative inertness (ΔfH° of −394 kJ·mol−1), these processes are significantly energy demanding, with reactions typically taking place at high temperatures and pressures. Under mild conditions, efficient chemical incorporation of CO2 is restricted to reactive substrates, such as epoxides and amines, often in the presence of catalysts.
In this project, plasma technology will be applied to problems in clean organic synthesis. Initial trials have already resulted in promising epoxide yields and CO detection. This suggests that by systematically studying and optimizing the reaction conditions (plasma reactor, solvent, concentration, pH, current density, temperature, etc.), high yields are possible, without the need for inorganic reagents such as oxoneTM or heavy metals. In essence, the stoichiometric oxidant is uniquely derived from CO2. In order to achieve our aims, we will focus development of a continuous flow configuration which will allow for rapid reaction optimization and scale-up.

Entry requirements

Students are expected to have or achieve a upper second class BSc or MChem degree or a MSc or equivalent qualification
Applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements. Further details are available on the International website: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/international/applicants/english/ .

How to apply

All applications should be made online: https://www.lboro.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/apply/research-applications/ . Under school/department name, select 'Chemistry'. Please quote reference CM/BB-Un3/2021.
The deadline for applications is 30th September 2021

References

For some recent publications from the group please see: J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2020, 142, 1780 & Chem. Sci. 2020 9109.

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