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Dynamic control of nanoparticle self-assembly

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Kay
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

We are seeking a highly motivated and enthusiastic PhD student to work under the supervision of Dr Euan Kay developing supramolecular systems for controlling the functionalization and self-assembly of nanoparticles.

Following remarkable developments in nanomaterials synthesis over the past 15 years, synthetic chemists are now presented with a challenge: Can we manipulate nanoparticles so as to modify their properties, or construct devices and materials from nanoparticle building blocks, with the same level of precision and control as we currently have for molecular synthesis? At a more fundamental level, how does confining molecules to a nanoparticle surface affect reactivity?

This project aims to address these issues by exploiting dynamic covalent reactions of molecules attached to the surface of nanoparticles.

Building on dynamic covalent (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2015, 54, 4187–4191) and noncovalent (Chem. Commun. 2015, 51, 7812–7815) systems recently developed in our group, we are interested in answering fundamental questions regarding how the nano-environment influences reactivity for molecules on a nanoparticle surface. This understanding will then be applied to develop strategies for controlling the self-assembly of nanoparticles both in solution and on surfaces. In the latter case, lithographically created patterns will be used to generate hierarchically patterned nanoparticle assemblies with plasmonic properties designed to control light on small length scales.

Research in this area requires a multidisciplinary approach, involving elements of molecular, supramolecular and nanomaterials chemistry. Candidates must demonstrate a strong desire to master a range of synthetic and analytical techniques, and have an outward-looking philosophy to solving research problems. Characterization of nanoparticles will be achieved using a variety of solution phase and solid state techniques, including 1D & 2D NMR, FT-IR, UV-Vis, thermal analysis, electron microscopy (TEM & SEM) and light scattering (DLS). The Kay Group is based in modern synthetic chemistry facilities in the School of Chemistry at the University of St Andrews, with access to world-class resources in each of the above techniques.

The successful candidate will also have excellent opportunities for developing their written and oral communication skills and will be expected to present their work at national and international conferences (funding is available for this).

For more information about the group, please see our webpage: http://kaylab.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk

Students interested in undertaking a PhD in the Kay group should register their interest as soon as possible. Informal enquiries can be made to Dr Euan Kay ([email protected]).

Potential applicants are welcome to arrange to visit St Andrews at any time, although there will be a chemistry postgraduate open day in St Andrews on the afternoon of Friday the 12th of February 2016.
Please see: http://ch-www.st-andrews.ac.uk/PGadmissions.html for the application procedure or e-mail [email protected] for more information.

Funding Notes

The project is funded for 3.5 years and is available applicants from the UK and EU who have or expect to obtain at least an upper second-class degree in chemistry or relevant disciplines. Funding will cover fees (at EU/UK level) and a stipend at current research council rates.


F. della Sala, E. R. Kay, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2015, 54, 4187–4191.
S. Borsley, S. Flook, E. R. Kay, Chem. Commun., 2015, 51, 7812–7815.
E. R. Kay, D. A. Leigh, Angew. Chem Int. Ed. 2015, 54, 10080–10088.

How good is research at University of St Andrews in Chemistry?
(joint submission with University of Edinburgh)

FTE Category A staff submitted: 37.30

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities
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