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Coventry University Featured PhD Programmes
Coventry University Featured PhD Programmes

Synthesis of New Polyoxothiometalates as Geo-Inspired Photo- and Electrocatalysts for CO2 Mitigation (FIELDENJ1U21SF)

School of Chemistry

About the Project

Sulfurous oceanic hydrothermal vents containing transition metals are thought to have played a key role in converting CO2 into the chemical building blocks of life.(i)  Therefore, these primordial metallo-sulfur soups likely contained superb pre-biotic molecular catalysts for CO2 and other small molecule activations, of potentially great value as we battle anthropogenic climate change.  In this project, we will employ solvothermal conditions inspired by the deep ocean vents to explore new polyoxothiometalates (POTMs).  Such all-inorganic clusters promise a new realm of molecular inorganic materials with high photo/redox stability due to their oxo-framework,(ii),(iii) the ability to accept and transfer multiple electrons,(ii),(iii) and sulfur sites that provide substrate-binding(iv) and photo-activity.(v) Thus, new catalytic science can be expected to emerge with great potential for converting CO2 into methane, short-chain hydrocarbons and other organic feedstocks.

This PhD project involves synthesis of POTMs, their characterisation by X-ray crystallography and a range of spectroscopic techniques, and study of their electrochemical/electrocatalytic and photophysical/photocatalytic properties. Thus it will provide a very broad-based training in inorganic synthesis, molecular characterisation and physical measurement, in the excellent facilities of the interdisciplinary Energy Materials Laboratory. 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, materials properties and catalysis.

Informal enquiries can be made to Dr John Fielden (, 01603 593137).

For more information on the supervisor for this project, please go here
Type of Programme: PhD
Start Date: 1st Oct 2021
Mode of Study: Full Time
Studentship length: 3 year studentships have a (non-funded) 1 year ‘registration only’ period

Funding Notes

This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at View Website

A bench fee is also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research. Applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.

Acceptable first degrees are Chemistry, and a strong interest in synthetic inorganic chemistry, materials properties and catalysis.
The standard minimum entry requirement is 2:1


i) W. F. Martin, F. Sousa, N. Lane, Science 2014, 344, 1092.
ii) D. L. Long, E. Burkholder, L. Cronin, Chem. Soc. Rev. 2007, 36, 105.
iii) J. Fielden, L. Cronin, Coordination Clusters, in Encyclopedia of Supramolecular Chemistry, Taylor & Francis, London, 2007, pp. 1-10.
iv) T. Spatzal, K. A. Perez, O. Einsle, J. B. Howard, D. C. Rees, Science 2014, 345, 1620.
v) 19.S. H. Lawrie, Eur. J. Inorg. Chem. 2000, 2443.

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