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Unlocking the Full Potential of Deep Eutectic Solvent in Synthesis

   Department of Chemistry

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  Dr S Diez-Gonzalez  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

An EPSRC Industrial CASE PhD studentship in collaboration with Astra Zeneca

The aim of the project is to understand the key parameters that positively influence organic reactions in DES to fully capitalize the promise of these solvents and hence unveil new and exciting reactivity.

Deep Eutectic Solvents (DES) are mixtures of safe compounds (i.e. choline chloride, urea, glycerol…) that are liquid thanks to hydrogen-bonding. DES overcome the health and safety shortcomings of standard organic solvents (petroleum-derived, polluting, volatile, flammable…) and can also have a significant, unexpected impact on the outcome of chemical reactions. However, the origin of such effects is not understood at present.

For selected case reactions, structural variations of the hydrogen bond acceptor and donor will be undertaken to assess their impact in terms of yield, selectivity and rate using parallel high throughput screening. Important parameters such as polarity, acidity/basicity, solute nucleophilicity or water content will be examined and Design of Experiments software will be employed to untangle the synergetic effects of relevant variables in these processes. Different DES and different combination of variables are bound to be optimal for each transformation, and while it is not its primary objective, it is anticipated that this work will also lead to the development of novel synthetic methodologies.

This project will deliver an excellent training in state-of-the-art organic synthesis, catalysis, physical organic chemistry, new technologies and data analysis. Furthermore, solvents are the main contributors to the environmental impact of virtually any chemical process, so this understanding is an unprecedented opportunity to access more sustainable and efficient ways of creating useful molecules without additional costly chemicals or niche technologies, only naturally abundant and biodegradable compounds.

More information about the group’s recent work can be found on the group webpage.

Eligibility and Application

Applicants should hold or expect to obtain a first or upper-second class honours degree or equivalent in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, or a related field. A Master’s degree in one of the above fields is an essential requirement. Imperial College PhD entry requirements must be met.

Informal enquiries are encouraged and should be directed to Dr Diez-Gonzalez ([Email Address Removed])

Formal applications should be made via the Imperial College Postgraduate Admissions

More information about applying for a PhD at Imperial may be found on our website.

Funding Notes

This 4-year studentship is open to Home (UK) students only, and a three-month placement at Astra Zeneca is also covered. It is anticipated that the successful candidate will start in October 2022.

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