Nothing travels faster than light. Therefore, as electronic computing nears its fundamental performance limits, a move to optical, or electro-optical devices would offer the prospect of inherently greater speed, higher parallelism and lower power consumption.(i) Doing so will require high-activity, high-stability non-linear optical (NLO) materials that enable manipulation of laser light, and ideally can be switched by external stimuli.(ii)
We have recently developed NLO materials based on organoimido derivatives of polyoxometalates (POMs) – a very varied class of molecular, nanoscale multimetallic coordination cluster. In some cases, these break through empirical NLO performance limits that apply to purely organic materials.(iii),(iv) The key challenge now is making the step from promising molecular properties, to bulk materials and devices whose properties can be switched. In this project, we will develop a new approach to this by using molecular hosts to encapsulate the POM, and in turn direct formation of an extended material whose properties can be electrochemically switched. Such POM hosts offer potentially huge rewards in materials science, but are little investigated so far.(v)
This ambitious project offers a training in molecular inorganic and organic synthesis, characterisation, and physical measurement of both molecular and materials properties. Based in the well-equipped, interdisciplinary Energy Materials Laboratory at UEA, it also involves collaboration with leading international groups. The successful applicant will have, or expect to obtain a first class, 2(i) or equivalent Honours degree in chemistry, and a strong interest in synthetic inorganic chemistry and materials properties. Contact Dr John Fielden ([Email Address Removed], 01603 593137) for further information.