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PhD Studentship: Low-valent Group-1 Metal Complexes: Synthesis, Structures, Reactivity

University of Birmingham - School of Chemistry

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Birmingham
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: Funded
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 4th December 2023
Closes: 29th February 2024

Interested in synthetic organometallic chemistry, sustainable catalysis and energy storage? This is a great opportunity to create a new horizon of the most common, yet poorly understood metals: Group-1 metals (Li, Na, K, Rb, Cs). We are looking for an enthusiastic 3.5-Year PhD student to join the Lu Group, to push the Group-1 metals chemistry into a new era.

Group-1 metals are “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde” in the Periodic Table. They are ubiquitous in our everyday life (such as NaCl), and also act as aggressive but underpinning reagents in research and manufacturing (such as nBuLi). But all their molecular chemistry is dominated by +1 oxidation state. You will change the landscape by exploring the first low-valent Group-1 metal complexes (oxidation states 0 and -1), and comprehensively study their structures and reactivity in catalysis (N2 and CO2 activation) and energy storage. These will be landmarks in synthetic inorganic and organometallic chemistry.

The Lu Group (www.erlilulab.org) is an international leader in Group-1 metal chemistry. You will receive hands-on intense training in research skills. Specifically, you will grow into an expert in anaerobic synthesis (Schlenk line and glovebox) and multiple spectroscopies (NMR, single-crystal X-ray diffraction, UV/Vis, IR). Other than the experimental skills, you will have the opportunity to develop computational skills on the Lu Group computation platform, under the supervision of Dr Lu, the group computational postdoctoral researcher, and external collaborators. The expertise and experience will be invaluable asset for your further career development, in both academia and industry.

Dr Lu endeavours to create an encouraging, inclusive and self-motivating research culture. You will have versatile opportunities for learning and personal development, such as participating and representing your work on national and international conferences, and attending workshops for learning new techniques. We encourage all the PhD students in the Lu Group to attend at least one conference/workshop per year.

Applications will close when the successful candidate is recruited for September 2024 start.

References:
Recent relevant publications from the Lu Group:
(1) Reduction of K+ or Li+ in a Heterobimetallic Electride K+[LiN(SiMe3)2]e-. N. Davison, P. G. Waddell and E. Lu*. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2023, 145, 17007-17012.

(2) Li vs Na: Distinct Reaction Patterns of Organo-Lithium and -Sodium Monomeric Complexes, and Ligand-Catalyzed Ketone/Aldehyde Methylenation. N. Davison, C. L. McMullin*, L. Zhang, S. -X. Hu, P. G. Waddell, C. Wills, C. Dixon, E. Lu*. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2023, 145, 6562-6576.

(3) The Quest for Organo-Alkali Metal Monomers: Unscrambling the Structure-Reactivity Relationship. N. Davison*, E. Lu*. Dalton Trans. 2023, 52, 8172-8192.

To apply, please submit an application via our Online Admissions Portal at https://sits.bham.ac.uk/lpages/EPS006.htm mentioning the name of the project and supervisor in your personal statement.

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