Research in our group focuses on developing strategies inspired by supramolecular concepts 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 intermolecular interactions, molecular conformations, and reactivity?
We recently developed the concept of dynamic covalent nanoparticle (DCNP) building blocks, as a new approach for precisely manipulating molecular structure within nanoparticle-bound monolayers under thermodynamic control.[1–3] We are now interested in using these platforms, along with other technologies developed in our group [4–6] to:
(1) Ask fundamental questions regarding how the nano-environment influences reactivity for molecules on a nanoparticle surface, including concepts such as cooperative intra-monolayer catalysis, and nanostructure-controlled thermodynamics.
(2) Develop smart, environment-responsive nanoparticle systems that exploit the unique properties of nanomaterials in novel ways.
(3) Achieve fine control over covalently linked nanoparticle assemblies formed in bulk solution and at patterned interfaces.
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. We commonly employ a variety of solution-phase and solid-state characterization 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 and our research, please see our webpage: http://kaylab.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk
Candidates 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]
Please see: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/chemistry/prospective/pg/
for the application procedure or e-mail [email protected]
for more information regarding PhD opportunities at St Andrews. We encourage applications from Chinese nationals through the St Andrews CSC Scheme (https://csc.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/) and for the EPSRC CDT in Critical Resource Catalysis (http://www.criticat.org/
 F. della Sala, E. R. Kay, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2015, 54, 4187–4191.
 S. Borsley, E. R. Kay, Chem. Commun. 2016, 52, 9117–9120.
 E. R. Kay, Chem. Eur. J. 2016, 22, 10706–10716.
 W. Edwards, E. R. Kay, ChemNanoMat 2016, 2, 87–98.
 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.