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Process-structure-function relationships for supramolecular materials discovery


Department of Chemistry

About the Project

Supramolecular systems – such as macrocycles, molecular cages, interlocked species, or extended assemblies or materials – are making an impact in diverse fields and applications, from healthcare to energy and the environment. However, these species are often hard to make, hard to characterise, and even harder to optimise and scale up for industrial use, especially when multiple reversible and/or non-covalent interactions are involved. This studentship will address this challenging issue by using continuous flow chemistry.

Flow chemistry – where reagents are passed continuously through heated tubing – has unique advantages of reproducibility, mixing, scalability, and wider process windows compared to traditional batch processes. Adding automation, in-line measurement, and flexible reaction configurations makes flow chemistry an exciting new way to study the synthesis and self-assembly of supramolecular systems. This project will build on our recent progress in the area of flow chemistry,1,2 low-symmetry cage systems,3, 4 and macrocyclic species (manuscript in preparation) to develop automated screening platforms for complex supramolecular species.

This project will be based in the group led by Dr Anna Slater (http://agslatergroup.com) in collaboration with Dr Sam Chong (https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/chemistry/staff/samantha-chong/), drawing on skills and equipment in both teams. The project will also have access to unique facilities in the state-of-the-art Materials Innovation Factory at the University of Liverpool (https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/materials-innovation-factory).

We are looking for candidates with an enthusiasm for research, multidisciplinary collaboration and tackling challenging problems through teamwork. You do not need to have experience with flow chemistry; the successful candidate will be provided with comprehensive training. Experience in organic synthesis or supramolecular chemistry would be an advantage, but we recognise that opportunities for hands-on lab work may have been limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain, a degree (equivalent to a UK 1st or 2:1) in chemistry, materials science or a related discipline.

To apply please visit: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/how-to-apply/. Please include Curriculum Vitae, two reference letters, degree transcripts to date, and a cover letter (max 1 page) describing your motivation for applying and relevant experience. Please include reference CCPR011 in the funding section of the online application form.

Applications should be made as soon as possible but no later than 16th April 2021. If candidates are identified before this date the position may be closed earlier – please get in touch at an early stage if you are interested.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Anna Slater ().


Funding Notes

The award will cover fees at the Home/EU rate and an annual stipend at the EPSRC-DTP rate.

References

1. Briggs and Slater et al., Chem. Commun., 2015,51, 17390.
2. Thorne et al., Sci Rep 2019, 9, 17983.
3. Slater et al., Mol. Syst. Des. Eng., 2018, 3, 223.
4. Abet and Szczypiński et al., Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2020, 59, 16755.

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