The Hong Kong Polytechnic University Featured PhD Programmes
Norwich Research Park Featured PhD Programmes
University of Dundee Featured PhD Programmes
University of Southampton Featured PhD Programmes
University of East Anglia Featured PhD Programmes

Synthesis of New Metal-Oxo Cluster Molecules for Photocatalysis

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, January 24, 2020
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

One PhD studentship funded by The Royal Society (with stipendiary support for four years) is available for a talented researcher with an interest in Inorganic Chemistry. The project will involve the synthesis and characterisation of new nanoscale metal-oxo cluster molecules and sits at the interface between molecular and materials chemistry.

Metal oxide materials are used in a multitude of modern applications including state-of-the-art self-cleaning windows, solar cells and antibacterial surfaces for next generation medical devices. Many of these applications stem from the ability of metal oxides to absorb light and use this energy to direct chemical reactions. As it can be challenging to optimise the properties of a given metal oxide, or to study the detailed reaction mechanisms that occur on a complicated surface, the Pike group synthesises and studies well-defined molecular metal-oxo clusters, which also exhibit exciting photo-active properties. This creates the opportunity to precisely tune properties, for instance to absorb the maximum amount of visible light whilst still driving the required chemical transformation, which will be essential for the design of new systems which can efficiently convert solar energy into fuels. This project will design tiny molecular versions of semiconducting metal oxides and will determine how to manipulate their properties by carefully optimising their size, composition and surface chemistry. These molecules will act as tiny reactive centres, which absorb light and catalyse reactions.

This ambitious project will examine how photophysical properties are affected by size and structure, in order to design new tuneable molecules which can be assembled into next-generation photoactive materials. These systems will be tested as photocatalysts for applications in solar fuel generation (e.g. splitting of water to generate hydrogen) and important chemical redox transformations. The applicant will build a wide range of skills in (air-sensitive) synthesis and characterisation, including an in-depth knowledge of NMR spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography, which will be supported by internal and external training programmes. The student will work closely with Dr. Pike as a key member of the research group. There will also be opportunities for national and international collaborations with experts in computational modelling and photoelectron spectroscopy.

The studentship comes with an associated travel budget for attending conferences/visiting collaborators and the opportunity to attend a specialised training school during the project.

Please direct informal enquiries and requests for further information to Dr. Seb Pike . For more information on the research interests of the Pike Research Group, please visit

Details on the formal application procedure can be found at

The intended project start date is October 2020, but is flexible.

Funding Notes

Good degree (2.i or 1st class) in chemistry or related subjects. Must be willing to work independently and as a key part of a research team. Funding is available for UK/EU students only.


1. Krämer, T.; Tuna, F.; Pike, S. D., Photo-redox reactivity of titanium-oxo clusters: mechanistic insight into a two-electron intramolecular process, and structural characterisation of mixed-valent Ti(iii)/Ti(iv) products. Chem. Sci. 2019, 10 (28), 6886-6898.
2. Mitchell, K. J.; Abboud, K. A.; Christou, G., Atomically-precise colloidal nanoparticles of cerium dioxide. Nat. Commun. 2017, 8 (1), 1445.

How good is research at University of Warwick in Chemistry?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 34.80

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

Email Now

Insert previous message below for editing? 
You haven’t included a message. Providing a specific message means universities will take your enquiry more seriously and helps them provide the information you need.
Why not add a message here
* required field
Send a copy to me for my own records.

Your enquiry has been emailed successfully

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2019
All rights reserved.