Mechanical force and catalysis
What if making a new molecule was as easy as stretching a rubber band?
Any force developed at the macroscopic scale can induce dramatic changes at the molecular scale, even breaking covalent bonds. Indeed, mechanical force is a formidable source of energy that, with its ability to distort, bend and stretch chemical bonds, is unique in the way it promotes chemical reactions. Although chemists have developed catalysts that can be controlled using various stimuli (pH, light, allostery), very few examples of mechanoactivated catalysts have been reported so far.
In this project you will create new types of force-activated catalysts. You will investigate their activation both in solution, using ultrasounds, and in the solid-state by mechanical stretching. You will then explore their catalytic performances on relevant substrates. This project could lead to the development of self-healing materials and to the creation of chemical systems able to perform complex synthetic tasks.
You will be trained in synthetic organic and polymer chemistries, catalysis, computational chemistry and materials science.
 (a) Li, J. et al. Polymer Mechanochemistry: From Destructive to Productive. Acc Chem Res 2015, 48 (8), 2181–2190. (b) Caruso, M. M. et al. Mechanically-Induced Chemical Changes in Polymeric Materials. Chem. Rev. 2009, 109 (11), 5755–5798.
 Blanco, V. et al. Artificial Switchable Catalysts. Chem. Soc. Rev. 2015, 44 (15), 5341–5370.
This project is to be funded under the EPSRC Doctoral Training Programme. This Studentship is for 3.5 years covering tuition fees and a stipend of 14296per annum for 2016/17. Eligibility: Due to funding restrictions the studentship is available to UK and EU nationals only.
Applicants should have or expect a good II(i) honours degree (or an equivalent degree) in Chemistry or Polymer Chemistry. An experience in synthetic organic chemistry or synthetic polymer chemistry is a plus.
Contact for further Information
For more information and informal inquiries please contact Dr Guillaume De Bo at [email protected] (including a CV).
The application deadline for this Studentship is 1 April 2016. However, please note the School reserves the right to review applications as they are submitted, to interview and appoint a candidate that meets the academic requirements prior to the closing date.