PhD Studentship: Nanohybrids – Photocatalysis with a Spin: Exploring the Possibility to Develop Organic Spin-Filters to Control Reaction Pathways by Preventing the Formation of Radical Intermediates with Opposite Spins

Queen Mary University of London

This project will explore the possibility to develop organic spin-filters, which will make it possible to control reaction pathways by preventing the formation of radical intermediates with opposite spins, thereby restraining the production of undesirable side products. The control of chemical kinetics through spin selection can have extraordinary consequences in controlling a particular redox process and presents a radical departure from traditional methods of electrochemical reaction rate control. We aim to examine the effect of the spin on the photogenerated charge carriers’ transfer and recombination in hybrid photocatalytic nanostructures. This will be achieved by studying how the magnetic field and the nanostructure interact and affect the photoelectrochemical current of selected systems. Can we tune the photogenerated charge carrier transport and recombination processes in hybrid nanostructured systems by inducing spin changes under an applied magnetic field? And can we therefore control the photocatalytic performance of these systems?

To create hybrid photocatalytic nanostructures, the successful candidate will design a system with photoactive nanoparticles that will be anchored to spin-selective organic molecules. They will shape a self-assembled layer of the produced hybrid nanostructures that can be easily attached to an electrode of a ferromagnetic material, such as nickel. This will allow them to impose a magnetic field on the system using an external permanent magnet and explore whether the electrons’ spin orientation affects the photocharge carrier transport and lifetime in such hybrid systems, and to what extent. This is a very pioneering project and will undoubtedly lead to great advances and exciting results in the area of energy materials.

The successful candidate will be supervised by Dr. Jorge Sobrido (QMUL) and Dr. Schroeder (UCL), and co-supervised by Dr. Briscoe (QMUL). They will design the chiral photoactive systems. This is a truly multidisciplinary project that involves: (i) Synthesis of chiral semiconductors to act as spin-filter (Organic Chemistry); (ii) Anchoring of the spin-filter to the metallic electrode surface and functionalising them with photoactive species as catalytic sites (Surface Chemistry and Inorganic Chemistry); (iii) Photoelectrochemical characterisation of the chiral hybrid systems in an external magnetic field (Photophysics and Electrochemistry). This project would suit candidates with a background on Chemistry and Materials Science, with knowledge of semiconducting materials and enthusiasm for energy applications.

QMUL Research Studentship Details

  • Available to Home/EU & International Applicants.
  • Full Time programme only
  • Applicant required to start in Late September/October 2018
  • The studentship arrangement will cover tuition fees and provide an annual stipend for up to three years (Currently set as £16,553 in 2017/18).
  • The minimum requirement for this studentship opportunity is a good Honours degree (minimum 2(i) honours or equivalent) or MSc/MRes in a relevant discipline.
  • If English is not your first language then you will require a valid English certificate equivalent to IELTS 6.5+ overall with a minimum score of 6 in Writing 5.5 in all sections (Reading, Listening, Speaking).
  • International applicants should refer to the following website at

Supervisor Contact Details
For informal enquiries about this position, please contact Ana Jorge Sobrido, Bob Schroeder
Tel: 020 7882 5582

Application Method
To apply for this studentship and for entry on to the Materials Science programme (Full Time) please follow the instructions detailed here:

Further Guidance:

Please be sure to include a reference to ‘2018 SEMS QMRS AJS’ to associate your application with this studentship opportunity.

Application Deadline: 31st March 2018

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