Within Chemistry and Forensic Science (Division of Natural Sciences) we are particularly inviting applications to the following projects:
Exploring Chelating Architectures for Pnictogen Catalysts – Dr Helena Shepherd (email@example.com) and Dr Ewan Clark (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Precious metal catalysis underpins the world economy, but the precious metals themselves are low abundance and toxic. However, pnictogen (P, As, Sb, Bi) complexes have recently been shown to catalyse reactions previously limited precious metals, from hydrogenation to cross-coupling. Since even conventionally “toxic” elements like arsenic are both more earth abundant and less toxic than many precious metals, these offer great hope for greener, cheaper options in the chemists’ toolbox. This PhD project builds on Clark group work with cationic phosphorus reduction catalysts, targeting novel chelating ligands to develop robust, specific, and environmentally benign catalysts for useful transformations.
Mechanochemical manipulation of lunar and Martian soil analogue materials – Dr Jon Tandy (email@example.com)
This project will use a variety of mechanochemistry techniques to study the chemical and physical changes induced by energetic processing events (like saltation) on materials that simulate lunar and Martian soils (or regolith). The incorporation of naturally occurring ices (water and CO2) and organic dopants (e.g. dichloromethane and thiophenes found by the Curiosity Rover) will also be investigated. The project will evaluate differences between naturally and synthetically sourced simulants and the effect of environmental conditions (e.g. thermal cycles) on these altered materials. A suite of analytical techniques including SEM-EDS, XRD and Raman spectroscopy will be utilised to comprehensively examine the induced chemistry and will provide important comparative data to measurements made by instrumentation onboard Martian rovers and multiple upcoming sample recovery missions to the Moon.
Understanding structure-property correlations in multiferroic oxides – Dr Donna Arnold (D.C.Arnold@kent.ac.uk)
Functional oxide materials remain at the heart of our society playing key roles in renewables, medicine and electronics. The continued drive towards carbon neutral and sustainability means we require new materials with low cost and high-energy efficiency to support next generation applications. Multiferroics couple magnetic and electronic properties into a single-phase providing low energy consuming alternatives to current devices for example memory. Furthermore, control of the electronic behaviour can also provide functional materials capable of application in energy storage. This project builds on work conducted in the Arnold group looking to understand structure-property correlations in complex oxide materials with the aim of designing novel functional materials suitable for low energy applications.