Francesca completed her MChem at Durham University. Her final year project involved the synthesis of models for the solid-supported synthesis of glycosphingolipids. Prior to her brief foray into organic chemistry, Francesca undertook a summer project supervised by Dr Michael Cowley, synthesising ligands for low-oxidation state aluminium chemistry. This piqued her interest in catalysis and, broadly, organometallic synthesis. Outside of the lab, Francesca enjoys cooking, reading and looking after her growing collection of indoor plants.
This project involves developing synthetic routes to new (hetero-)bimetallic complexes containing first row transition metals and f-elements. The complexes are designed so that they provide pathways for intermetallic communication through exchange and so that the metals are spatially separated by 3-4 Å. As the project develops we will synthesize systems in which this separation and communication can be externally controlled. We will exploit both this control for applications in CO2 activation catalysis, molecular sensing and information processing.
Liam is the recipient of the Oxford-Radcliffe OxICFM CDT Scholarship 2020. Originally from Bracknell, he completed his undergraduate studies at Jesus College in Oxford. His main interests in chemistry are focused on main group chemistry – his masters' project looked at catenation in tin and germanium complexes, and his DPhil project will be on Aluminium (I) chemistry. Outside of chemistry, he is a keen cook, and he also enjoys rowing, climbing, and singing in a choir.
This project will exploit novel recent developments in aluminium chemistry – notably the development of nucleophilic aluminium reagents – to synthesize a range of molecular species containing M-Al bonds. The controlled generation of M/Al alloys via thermolytic routes will then be investigated, their composition assessed via a range of techniques including atom probe tomography, and the electrochemical/catalytic performance of these materials examined.
Originally from Sheffield, Matt completed his BA and MSci from the University of Cambridge in 2020. During his final year research project in Prof Dominic Wright’s group he investigated novel inorganic cyclodiphosphazane ligands. His research interests centre around the synthesis of novel organometallic catalysts with applications in sustainable chemical synthesis. Outside the lab he enjoys live music, watching football, playing racquet sports and escaping to the countryside.
This project will involve the synthesis and characterisation of new low valent, metal complexes supported by ligand sets that can facilitate metal-ligand co-operativity to access new types of reactivity. The focus will be to achieve selective small molecule activation of abundant natural feedstocks and atmospheric pollutants in order to move towards sustainable chemical synthesis.
Aaron completed his masters in chemistry at the University of Bristol. He conducted his final year project under the supervision of Professor John Bower, working on aza-Heck cascade reactions involving C-H activation. His research interests include both organometallic and main group chemistry, with a focus on catalysis. In his free time he enjoys cooking, going on walks and occasionally some running.
The aim of this project is to develop novel single-site main group complexes capable of photolytically eliminating halogen gas, and to explore the use of such compounds as potential catalysts in HX-splitting reactions (X = F–I) to afford H2. Using a combination of experimental and computational techniques (TD-DFT), this project will explore the design and synthesis of diverse pincer ligand scaffolds equipped with photosensitizing functionalities and their use for the synthesis of geometry-constrained main group compounds.
Maya conducted her undergraduate degree in Chemistry at Barnard College in New York, but she is originally from Heidelberg, Germany. During her final year project, she synthesized analogs of a small molecule inhibitor of formins to analyze its structure-activity relationship, under the supervision of Professors Vizcarra and Rojas. She is interested in researching sustainable methods of catalysis. In her free time she enjoys gardening, baking, and exploring nature.
This project exploits carbon nanotube-lined columns for flow chemistry, and seeks to tailor these for specialised catalytic processes in fine chemical synthesis by doping of the nanotubes or immobilising chemo- or enzyme-catalysts. The project work will span Materials and Chemistry and will involve carbon nanomaterial synthesis and modification, catalysis, reaction optimisation and assessment of ‘green chemistry’ metrics.
Joe completed his MChem at the University of Oxford. His final year project consisted of a computational study on low-dimensional transition metal oxides, supervised by Prof. John McGrady. Joe’s research interests are in ab initio crystal structure discovery. In his DPhil, he hopes to apply this to materials which are promising for battery technology. In addition, he is interested in magnetic ordering and topological phases. Outside of chemistry, Joe captains the Men’s Blues Cross Country team and enjoys exploring the Oxfordshire countryside.
In this project we will search for, and subsequently synthesise, novel molybdenum chalcogenide materials. We will use a machine learning (ML) driven approach for accelerated structure prediction and atomistic modelling, which promises access to accurate, fast, and predictive computer simulations. The results will then inform targeted syntheses in the laboratory, as well as detailed experimental characterisation.
James completed his MChem degree at Durham University. His research interests lie in the area of solid-state chemistry, and his final year research project involved the synthesis and investigation of perovskite-derived oxide ion conductors for use in energy applications. He also spent 3 months at the University of Fribourg, working towards graphene-based rolled-up hyperbolic metamaterials. In his spare time, James enjoys reading, playing squash and rowing.
Transition-metal oxyhydrides (solids containing both O2– and H– anions) have novel electronic and magnetic properties and exhibit chemical behaviours with applications in catalysis and hydrogen fuel cell devices. This project aims to prepare the first oxyhydrides containing 5d transition-metals (Re, Os, Ir, Pt) as these systems are expected to have qualitatively different physical and chemical properties to lighter transition-metal analogues..
Kam is from London and completed his MSci at UCL in June 2020. Under the supervision of Dr Clare Bakewell, his final year’s work was aimed at the development of photoswitchable catalysts to control ring-opening polymerization reactions. His research interests include inorganic synthesis, catalysis and materials, particularly in the context of green chemistry. Outside of chemistry he loves to travel, read, bake and is an avid cricket supporter.
This project involves the synthesis of organometallic catalysts, of earth abundant Mg(II), Fe(III) or Al(III), for Switchable Polymerization Catalysis. The polymerization process will be developed to allow mixtures of renewable resources such as CO2, bio-derived lactones, epoxides and anhydrides to be selectively polymerized to multi-block polymers. These multi-block polymers will be studied and fine-tuned for applications as degradable thermoplastic elastomers and toughened plastics. This project will uncover the relationships between catalyst structure, activity and polymer performance which are critical to deliver future industrial manufacturing and products.
Sam is from London and recently graduated from the University of Oxford with an MChem in July 2020. His final year project, with Prof. Dermot O’Hare, focused on making layered double hydroxide composite materials, for use in post combustion carbon capture. Broadly, his research interests are centred around solid state materials and their use in sustainable applications. Outside of the lab he enjoys reading, cycling and rock climbing.
This project will focus on understanding the mechanism behind high gas barrier nanosheets based on combined synthesis and modelling. We will aim to develop new green food packaging films to solve one of the major challenges in the circular economy.
Charlie studied for her undergraduate integrated Master’s degree at the University of Edinburgh. Her final year project focused on investigating the encapsulation of MRI contrast agents within self-assembled supramolecular cages, and evaluating the host-guest complex as a possible contrast agent. Her academic interests include supramolecular chemistry and luminescence, but she is also very excited to learn about other aspects of inorganic chemistry through the CDT. In her spare time Charlie likes to go to the pub, cook for friends and befriend local cats.
This project will involve the synthesis of photo-switchable luminescent lanthanide complexes, in which the emission can be modulated in response to different wavelengths of light, for application in bio-imaging. The focus will be initially on synthesising kinetically stable lanthanide complexes with appended photo-switches, and probing their properties using a range of photo-physical techniques.
Having grown up in Essex, Katie completed her MChem course at Oxford in 2020. Her Part II project examined the intercalations of the layered compound, niobium selenide. She has always been fascinated by structure and her academic interests lie around the fields of solid-state chemistry and diffraction. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to podcasts, playing Pokémon Go and running the St Catz Juggling Club.
Li-ion batteries for mobile power applications are set to increase in importance; cobalt has been a key element in the cathode materials derived from LiCoO2, but it is rare and is mined in politically unstable regions. In this project new Li-ion battery cathode materials to deliver high capacity, high voltage and high power without the use of Co will be targeted using ingenious multi-step chemical syntheses.
Ludmila comes from Slovakia. She did her undergraduate studies in the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, where she completed her MChem degree with an emphasis on solid state chemistry. When she is not in the lab, she enjoys hiking, playing tennis, traveling and learning about new cultures and their cuisines.
Superconductors are key technological materials. Some of the new class of iron-based superconductors have promising technological properties, and this synthesis-driven project will exploit chemical tuning through substitution and intercalation chemistry to optimise the superconducting properties and understand the chemical and structural factors that control the properties using a wide range of physical techniques.