Core Capability - University of York

Lead Research Organisation: University of York
Department Name: Chemistry


The Chemistry Department in York is one of University's largest research-led departments, with approximately 50 academic staff, 57-research fellows, 136 PhD (30 funded by EPSRC, 12 by NERC), and 14 MSc/MRes research students. Our chemical analyses are critical for the publication of research articles and these are made at a number of leading research centres for example, the York Centre of Excellence in Mass Spectrometry (CoEMS), York Centre for Magnetic Resonance (YCMR), York JEOL Nanocentre, and the Centre for Hyperpolarisation in Magnetic Resonance (CHyM). This bid is made for new/replacement equipment to support our leading research in the following activities:

NMR Spectroscopy: We seek funding for a 400 MHz solid state NMR system as a vital extension to our research activities, given the huge importance of solid/soft matter in numerous research and technological areas such as heterogeneous catalysis, green chemistry, materials and nano-science. In addition, we will contribute to solid state NMR methodology research, which will allow our hyperpolarization research to include NMR studies of surface species/catalysis, and also to the expansion of unconventional computational research (based on spin dynamics) that will be extended to much more complicated, time-dependent phenomena than is currently possible.

Mass Spectrometry: In collaboration with Bruker Daltonics, the Centre of Excellence in Mass Spectrometry (CoEMS) in York was supplied with a unique combination and breadth of instrumentation, the centre piece of which is our FT-ICR instrument, which was upgraded to the new solariX. FT-ICR is the method that provides the highest resolution and accuracy measurements in mass spectrometry. The specification of our current instrument (9.4T solariX) has a resolution of 1.5 x 10 sixth at m/z 400. With its MALDI and ESI sources, it is also capable of imaging MS. We now seek to upgrade the solariX to the even higher resolving power and accuracy required to capture the full range of information for increasingly complex natural mixtures like fossil- and bio-fuels and many other current analytical challenges such as the molecular-level characterization of atmospheric aerosols and probing intact proteins and protein assemblies.

Small Angle X-Ray Diffraction: "Soft-matter" comprises a family of differing materials from membrane lipids, detergents, polymers, and nanoparticles to liquid crystals; ie, systems integral to every-day-life. The properties and applications of such systems require detailed understanding of structure and local molecular organisation. Previously, structures were inferred from polarized light microscopy, however, as the complexities of the phases of functional materials increase modern X-ray diffraction has become the standard for structural characterisation. This request is directed at extending our cutting edge research on self-assembling systems, via the acquisition of a diffractometer with custom-made sample holders, to study phase structures in the bulk, in thin films, and in devices.

Fluorescence X-ray Spectroscopy: In 2009, UoY prioritised the purchase of a micro-X-ray fluorescence (Horiba XGT-7000 Micro XRF). The instrument provides non-destructive elemental analysis, beyond CHN (ppm levels), directly from the sample (solid or liquid) without digestion using hazardous strong acids (ie, mandatory for flame atomic absorption). The equipment is currently unusable and needs parts replacing and repair.

Planned Impact

The University of York's proposal is based on a collective approach by the N8 universities to the EPSRC Core Capability Call. This approach is in response to the Wakeham Review of efficiencies in research funding, a report was commissioned in 2011 to explore the benefits of wider collaboration across the universities represented by the group (Prof L. Georghiou, Sharing for Excellence and Growth, 2011, This report identified a strong need of the N8 group to collaborate and co-ordinate on equipment and capital costs, where this is viable. The coordinated bid from the N8 Universities is in full alignment with this recommendation.

An asset-sharing programme has been developed to create an integrated database of assets that are available for the use of researchers throughout the N8. These systems describe the research equipment in detail, including its availability, procedures for access (eg health and safety and training) and how access would be charged to another institution. Through the implementation and utilisation of this system, equipment and instrumentation funded through this application will be leveraged for a greater impact across both the individual department and the N8 organisation than if it was provided to a single institution. Furthermore, as a result the N8 Collective will be able to continue to train chemists to a standard in order to enable them to compete on national and international levels on the most relevant equipment.


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Barros-Galva~o T (2019) cis-12-Oxo-phytodienoic acid represses Arabidopsis seed germination in shade conditions in Journal of Experimental Botany

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Becerra-Rivera VA (2018) Polyamines are required for normal growth in Sinorhizobium meliloti. in Microbiology (Reading, England)

Description This grant was to upgrade the equipment base in the department. This has been achieved.
Exploitation Route The new equipment is in constant use and underpins many current scientific investigations
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

Description This award was to upgrade key departmental equipment.
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Healthcare,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology
Impact Types Economic