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Design of new materials for solar to fuels technologies: electron diffraction techniques to study photochemical reactivity in metal-organic frameworks

Project description: 

A 4-year PhD studentship, funded by The Royal Society and The Warwick Centre for Doctoral Training in Analytical Science ( is available for a talented researcher with an interest in inorganic chemistry and materials science for a sustainable future. The student will be a researcher in the Pike Group ( throughout the 4-years, and will work closely with experts in the National Electron Diffraction Facility at Warwick (


The University of Warwick recently installed the UK’s first electron diffractometer as part of the National Electron Diffraction Facility. This technique will be transformative for inorganic and materials chemistry as it allows full structural characterisation of micro-crystalline materials, with suitable crystals far smaller than required for conventional X-ray crystallography. This allows for study of micro-crystalline materials such as metal-organic frameworks to a new level of precision. This PhD student will be one of the first in the UK to work with this type of instrument.


This project will design and build new (photo)catalytic materials as well as studying the current leading porous micro-crystalline materials for water splitting/CO2 reduction technologies. This will include extending the Pike Group’s studies of photoactive and optimisable metal-oxo clusters by using these as building blocks for new materials ( The materials to be studied in this project will be able to promote the conversion of sunlight into sustainable chemical fuels and are also of interest for sustainable catalytic reactions such as pollutant decomposition, antimicrobial surfaces, and synthesis of organic chemicals. These materials undergo (photo)chemical reactions in their micro-crystalline forms, whilst retaining crystallinity, therefore, (photo)reactivity will be studied directly by electron diffraction (crystallography) techniques to uncover precise changes in chemical structure. This will provide vital information of reactivity and reaction mechanism in unprecedented detail, allowing for logical design of efficient next-generation functional materials.

For more information about the project, please contact Seb.

The studentship has an associated travel budget for attending international conferences and for visiting collaborators. The student will have the opportunity to attend the BCA/CCG Intensive Teaching School in X-Ray Structure Analysis during the project.


Research group information with more details of ongoing research is available here



Good degree (2.i or 1st class) in chemistry or related subjects. Must be willing to work independently and as a key part of a research team. Due to funding requirements the project must begin no later than September 2024, please contact Dr. Pike for any questions about the starting date.


How to apply:

In the first instance please contact Dr. Pike by email at Please include in your email a CV and your current/predicted grades.


Details on how to apply formally can be found at