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The University of Southampton

PhD Studentship: “Anchored Organometallic Catalysts and their Potential in Sustainable Catalysis

Published: 5 January 2011

The main objectives of this Ph.D. studentship are to design and develop novel strategies for engineering multifunctional active sites from organometallic precur-sors, with a view to creating highly-dispersed nanoparticles.

Detailed structural and spectroscopic investigations will be carried out for elucidating the nature of the active site. The influence of a range of porous supports and their role in “site isolation” of the active centers for facilitating a wide range of catalytic reactions that are of paramount importance for the generation of renewable chemicals and fuels from sustainable resources will also be investigated.

Platinum group metals (PGM) have been extensively used for a wide variety of catalytic processes and there is an exigent need to seek effective, cheaper and more readily available substitutes. Cluster-derived multimetallic nanoparticles, anchored within porous supports, display exceptional activities and high selectivi-ties for a variety of sustainable catalytic transformations and, more recently, have been deployed in the synthesis of pharmaceutical intermediates and fine chemi-cals. The superior activity of these catalysts is believed to result, in part, from the very small (nanoscale) size of the metal particles and, by further alloying the cluster to suitable oxophiles, helps prevent sintering and deactivation. This pro-ject will aim to address many of these fundamental aspects and will be directed at rationalizing the mechanisms and mode of action of nanocluster catalysts and the wider implications of this research in reducing our dependence of platinum group metals for industrial catalysis.

Academic supervision will be provided by Dr. Robert Raja and further details regarding research themes and projects within the group can be found in his profile. The successful applicant will join a well-established Research Group in the area of heterogeneous catalysis with a keen focus on Sustainable Chemistry and have access to state-of-the art materials synthesis and catalysis facilities, in the Synthesis and Catalysis Group, at the University of Southampton. Applicants should have a good (preferably first or 2:1) degree in Chemistry and a keen interest in organometallic chemistry and catalysis.

The studentship is only open to UK Nationals. A Masters upper second class honours degree in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering is required.

Please contact Dr. Robert Raja for informal enquiries and fur-ther information related to this project.

To obtain further information or to apply for this position, please contact Mrs Chun Borodzicz, Postgraduate Admissions Administrator at

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