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Pre-nucleation in the synthesis of metal–organic frameworks

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 31, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

We seek to recruit a highly motivated and talented PhD student in the School of Chemistry at the University of Birmingham within the research group of Dr Hamish H-M Yeung. The successful candidate will be part of a multidisciplinary effort aimed at revealing new understanding across the formation, organisation and response of matter.

Recent advances in metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) have led to enormous interest in the fields of sensing, separations and catalysis. These chemically-tunable, highly porous materials can be synthesized under relatively mild solvothermal conditions, which allow access to a wealth of self-assembled phases. Uncovering the mechanisms by which MOFs form will allow new materials to be created and existing materials to be synthesized in a more environmentally-friendly way.

This project will investigate the recent phenomena of pre-nucleation complexes and their role in MOF formation.[1] It seeks to understand how the chemistry of the solution state affects the crystallization mechanism and, ultimately, how it may be controlled using modulators, templates or other additives to target specific MOF phases for sensing applications.

The student will acquire skills in laboratory synthesis and analytical chemistry, crystallography and materials characterization. The multidisciplinary nature of the project means that they will gain experience in a range of techniques through collaborations within and beyond the School of Chemistry, including central scientific facilities, such as Diamond Light Source, the UK’s national synchrotron.

Funding Notes

Candidates should have or be about to complete a Masters degree in Chemistry or similar subject. They are expected to have interests in one or more areas out of materials, self-assembly, mechanism, kinetics and crystallography. For more details please contact the primary supervisor, Dr Hamish Yeung, University of Birmingham, School of Chemistry.

We are keen to achieve a gender and diversity balance across the School and therefore welcome applicants from all backgrounds. The School of Chemistry holds an Athena SWAN Bronze Award, which recognises its work in promoting women’s careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine in higher education.


[1] “Control of Metal–Organic Framework Crystallization by Metastable Intermediate Pre‐equilibrium Species” H. H.-M. Yeung, A. F. Sapnik, F. Massingberd-Mundy, M. W. Gaultois, Y. Wu, D. X. Fraser, S. Henke, R. Pallach, N. Heidenreich, O. Magdysyuk, N. T. Vo, A. L. Goodwin, Angewandte Chemie, International Edition 2019, 58, 566-571. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201810039.

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Chemistry?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 28.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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