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Synthesis of Highly Reduced Lanthanide and Actinide Complexes

Project Description

An ERC-sponsored PhD studentship is available for an outstanding and ambitious chemist to undertake research in the field of synthetic f-element chemistry. As part of a multidisciplinary team the successful candidate, based in the laboratory of Dr David Mills and co-supervised by Dr Floriana Tuna and Prof. Eric McInnes, will synthesise a series of highly reduced lanthanide and actinide complexes. We will investigate the reactivity of these complexes, and when appropriate we will analyse their physical properties using a wide variety of techniques including SQUID magnetometry and EPR spectroscopy.

Please submit a cover letter and CV with your application. The cover letter should describe your research interests and motivation for the proposed project in a short paragraph. Please quote reference number DM_106 in all correspondence; see the application process at:

The School is committed to Athena SWAN principles to promote women in science; the School’s website documenting activity in this area can be found at:

The University will actively foster a culture of inclusion and diversity and will seek to achieve true equality of opportunity for all members of its community.

Contact for further Information:
Informal enquires about the position are welcome to
P: (+44)161 275 4606
W: millsgroup.weebly.com
T: @millsgroupchem

Funding Notes

Funded by an ERC Consolidator Grant, this studentship covers tuition fees and stipend for 3.5 years (£15,009 p.a. in 2019/20).
Due to funding restrictions the studentship is open to UK and EU nationals only.

Start Date September 2020

Candidates should have or expect to obtain a first class or upper-second class degree, specialising in Chemistry. Experience of practical synthetic chemistry, especially air-sensitive chemistry (Schlenk lines and glove boxes) would be advantageous, although training will be provided. You should be capable of working under your own initiative and within a small research team, excellent communication and organisational skills are also required.


1. Actinide covalency measured by pulsed electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy; A. Formanuik, A. M. Ariciu, F. Ortu, R. Beekmeyer, A. Kerridge, F. Tuna, E. J. L. McInnes, D. P. Mills, Nature Chemistry 2017, 9, 578.
2. Electronic structures of bent lanthanide(III) complexes with two N-donor ligands, H. M. Nicholas, M. Vonci, C. A. P. Goodwin, S.-W. Loo, S. R. Murphy, D. Cassim, R. E. P. Winpenny, E. J. L. McInnes, N. F. Chilton, D. P. Mills, Chem. Sci., 2019, DOI:10.1039/C9SC03431E.
3. Molecular magnetic hysteresis at 60 K in dysprosocenium; C. A. P. Goodwin, F. Ortu, D. Reta, N. F. Chilton, D. P. Mills, Nature, 2017, 548, 439.
4. Synthesis and Electronic Structures of Heavy Lanthanide Metallocene Cations; C. A. P. Goodwin, D. Reta, F. Ortu, N. F. Chilton, D. P. Mills, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, 139, 18714.

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