• Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine Featured PhD Programmes
  • University of Greenwich Featured PhD Programmes
  • University of Warwick Featured PhD Programmes
  • University of Manchester Featured PhD Programmes
  • University of Glasgow Featured PhD Programmes
  • University of Tasmania Featured PhD Programmes
  • University of Birmingham Featured PhD Programmes
  • Lancaster University Featured PhD Programmes
University of Leicester Featured PhD Programmes
EPSRC Featured PhD Programmes
Coventry University Featured PhD Programmes
University of Glasgow Featured PhD Programmes
University of Reading Featured PhD Programmes

Dynamic Covalent Nanoparticle Building Blocks (a PhD in Synthetic Supramolecular and Nanochemistry)

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

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 ().

Please see: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/chemistry/prospective/pg/ for the application procedure or e-mail 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/).

Funding Notes

Funding for EU or UK students is available. We encourage applications from Chinese nationals through the St Andrews CSC Scheme (https://csc.wp.st-andrews.ac.uk/).


[1] F. della Sala, E. R. Kay, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2015, 54, 4187–4191.
[2] S. Borsley, E. R. Kay, Chem. Commun. 2016, 52, 9117–9120.
[3] E. R. Kay, Chem. Eur. J. 2016, 22, 10706–10716.
[4] W. Edwards, E. R. Kay, ChemNanoMat 2016, 2, 87–98.
[5] S. Borsley, S. Flook, E. R. Kay, Chem. Commun., 2015, 51, 7812–7815.
[6] 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

Email Now

Insert previous message below for editing? 
You haven’t included a message. Providing a specific message means universities will take your enquiry more seriously and helps them provide the information you need.
Why not add a message here
* required field
Send a copy to me for my own records.

Your enquiry has been emailed successfully

Cookie Policy    X