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Investigating the atomic and electronic structures of nano-scale molecular metal-oxo clusters.

Supervisor: Sebastian PikeLink opens in a new window Warwick Chemistry

Nanoscale (~1-2 nm) molecules sit at the interface between molecular and materials chemistry. As ultra-small nano-structures they are challenging to investigate by material characterisation techniques such as microscopy, but may also stretch the capabilities of small-molecule characterisation techniques such as single crystal X-ray crystallography. Therefore this PhD project explores the use of a range of characterisation techniques to fully understand this size domain, utilising the wide range of facilities available at the University of Warwick under the Spectroscopy and X-ray Research Technology Platforms

The project will investigate metal-oxo cluster molecules, which exhibit photoactive properties. These have the potential to act as visible light driven photocatalysts with tuneable properties. Furthermore, they are interesting well-defined analogues of bulk metal oxide materials and allow study of detailed (photo)reaction mechanisms which can be difficult to study at the bulk scale. Particular challenges will be to understand the electronic properties both in terms of HOMO-LUMO gap and also the relative energy positions of the frontier orbitals – key information for designing new photocatalysts.

Specialist characterisation techniques used in this project include:

  • X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy
  • Small angle X-ray scattering
  • X-ray crystallography
  • Mass spectrometry
  • SQUID magnetometry
  • NMR and EPR spectroscopies
  • UV and photoluminescence spectroscopies

This position has now been filled.