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Thinking inside the (glove)box: Lewis superacidic ionic liquids based on Main Group cations


Project Description

A fully funded PhD studentship is available to work on the development of new ionic liquid Lewis acidic cations.

Lewis acidic ionic liquids have been of interest for decades, with research almost exclusively focused on materials incorporating chlorometallate anions as Lewis acidic species. These have high intrinsic chloride contents that can lead to corrosion issues, and a lack of steric control at the Lewis acidic centre that limits the scope in catalysis. This project seeks to integrate the industrial potential of Lewis acidic ionic liquids with the discoveries in the area of main group cationic Lewis acid chemistry by developing new ionic liquid materials incorporating structural motifs that allow access to cationic Lewis superacidity.

The project is suitable for an independent-thinking, enthusiastic student with interests ranging from synthesis (main group chemistry), through catalysis, to spectroscopic studies (both using standard in-house techniques and synchrotrons).

The research will primarily involve the design, synthesis, and characterisation of new ionic liquids and the screening of their catalytic applications in carbocationic chemistry and as a component of frustrated Lewis pairs.

You will be based within QUILL (Queen’s University Ionic Liquid Laboratories), which has both excellent facilities for fundamental research on ionic liquids and strong links with the industry. In QUILL labs, several research groups work together, fostering the culture of interdisciplinary collaboration in an international environment, and appreciation for both high-quality science and collegial spirit.

This studentship is fully funded for 3 years and covers PhD tuition fees, together with a tax-free stipend. The studentship is expected to commence in October 2020, although the start date is negotiable.
Candidates should hold or expect to gain a minimum of an upper second-class honours degree in chemistry or related discipline.


For more information, please contact Dr Swadźba-Kwaśny ().

Funding Notes

Due to restrictions on the funding, this studentship is only open to candidates from the UK, or those that have been UK resident for the past three years.

How good is research at Queen’s University Belfast in Chemistry?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 34.35

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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