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Velocity Map Imaging of the Dynamics of Gas-Liquid Surface Reactions

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Friday, February 08, 2019
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The project will study reactions at the gas-liquid interface using novel experimental strategies combined with unique computational techniques. Based on proof-of-concept experiments [Rev. Sci. Instrum. 87 106104 (2016) (http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4965970)] from our lab you will commission a new apparatus to study chemical reactions at the gas-liquid interface in unprecedented detail, using high-resolution laser-based techniques coupled with velocity map imaging (VMI) methods. This imaging technique allows us to take ‘pictures’ of the fate of products of a chemical reaction, which will allow us to develop an in-depth understanding of the mechanisms involved. Enhancing the state-of-the-art VMI technique to study the gas-liquid interface will give us a unique multiplexing advantage over the other techniques currently used to study the interface. In combination with computational techniques you will be able to unravel the intricate multichannel dynamics that occur at the gas-liquid interface with unprecedented resolution.

You will study the reactions of Chlorine atoms at the gas-liquid interface. Chlorine atoms are highly important in atmospheric chemistry where they are a potent oxidizing species (in some cases as important as the OH radical). Reactions of Chlorine atoms with liquid hydrocarbon surfaces relevant to the components of atmospheric aerosols, and possessing different chemical functionality will be studied. Along with the study of pure liquids we will study mixtures of liquids these liquids to determine the surface preference of different types of functional groups, e.g. mixtures of the molecules squalane and squalene will determine the surface preference of the C=C group. The oxidation of the C=C group in the atmosphere is a key step in secondary aerosol formation. The dynamics of such reactions have been well studied in the gas phase and in solution, and thus comparison of our results with these works will also allow us to provide a comprehensive picture of the reaction dynamics of these systems. Gaining fundamental insights into the dynamics of gas-liquid interface will inform our understanding and modelling of the processes at gas-liquid interfaces in a range of environments vital to our society, e.g. atmospheric aerosols, liquid fuel combustion.

The Institute of Chemical Sciences (ICS) is an excellent environment for PhD research, with a thriving community of academics, post-doctoral and PhD researchers. ICS has many links to the other research institutes within the overall umbrella of the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, providing a strong interdisciplinary theme to our research. Heriot-Watt occupies an attractive campus site on the outskirts of Edinburgh, with excellent public transport links to the centre of one of the Europe’s most exciting cities.

Funding Notes

You should have, or expect to receive, a First or 2:1 Class MChem degree in Chemistry, or equivalent in a relevant related subject. This project is funded by an EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), providing tuition fees and a stipend (approx. £14,500) for 3.5 years, and is only available to UK & EU nationals resident in the UK for the last 3 years.

How good is research at Heriot-Watt University in Chemistry?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 30.00

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

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