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The University of Southampton

PhD Studentship: Functionalized Nanoporous Metal-Organic Frameworks for Energy Generation

Published: 22 March 2011

Dr. Robert Raja (School of Chemistry, University of Southampton, UK) and Prof. Andy Hor (Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, A*STAR, Singapore)

48 Month PhD Studentship

This collaborative research project will address two key areas that are of paramount importance in the energy sector: water splitting and hydrogen storage. Design strategies for synthesizing a range of novel functionalized nanoporous metal-organic frameworks (nMOFs) with a range of pore diameters and tunable properties will be explored with a view to exploiting their cooperative and synergistic aspects in energy generation and storage.

Producing clean renewable energy is one of grand-challenges for the 21st century. Water-splitting has been advocated as one of the most promising, green and renewable energy source, for the future sustainability of the world’s development. The H2 gas generated will not only be able to serve as an energy carrier but also support various important downstream industrial processes such as hydrogenation, hydroformylations, etc. At present, effective storage of H2 gas is difficult, as it is extremely light, thereby experiencing a higher kinetic energy than other gases and low dipole fluctuations. The multi-functional nMOFs that we propose to design during this project will have the intrinsic advantage of being able to incorporate the molecular anode and cathode within a singular MOF. This will further facilitate the assembly of a molecular scale photo-electrochemical cell that could out-perform its nano-counterpart. A potential advantage of this approach, over other water splitting models, is that the H2 and O2 generated can be immediately separated and compartmentalized into their respective space.

The project will be supervised by Dr. Robert Raja at the University of Southampton  and by Prof. Andy Hor at Institute of Materials Research and Engineering, A*STAR, Singapore ( The successful applicant will join a well-established Research Group at both institutions with state-of-the-art facilities for materials research and catalysis. This proposed project seeks to maximize and complement the established capabilities in both Groups (i.e. in single-site heterogeneous catalysis and organometallic and supramolecular assembly) with a view to fostering innovations in research and technology.

Applicants should have, or expect to receive shortly, a good (preferably first or top 2:1) degree in Chemistry or a relevant discipline with a keen interest in materials chemistry and catalysis.

Please contact Dr. Robert Raja (; +44-2380-592144) for informal enquiries and further 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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