Synthesis of Molecule Wires and Nanostructures

Lead Research Organisation: University of Liverpool
Department Name: Chemistry


A fully funded doctoral training partnership (DTP) PhD studentship is available to start from September 2018 for 42 months, in the groups of Professor Simon Higgins, Richard Nichols and Dr Frank Jaeckel. This is primarily a synthetic project so it would suit a student interested in molecular and nano-structure synthesis, but also involves characterisation of the molecular wires and nanostructures produced. The synthesised molecules and nanostructures will have application in molecular, nano- and opto- electronics. The molecules and structures will be designed to have interesting optical, electrochemical or catalytic properties. For example, the interactions of organometallic wires with substrates representing key steps in homogeneous catalysis and electrocatalysis, such as oxidative addition and reductive elimination, will be examined in situ. The organometallic molecular wires will be designed to have different junction conductances upon undergoing these fundamental transformations owing to the operation of quantum interference effects. Molecular wires exhibiting keto-enol tautomerisation are a further classes of compounds which will be synthesised (for example, molecules 1, 2 and 3).

The project will also involve the synthesis of nanostructures that will be designed to exhibit distinctive optical behaviour. An example here is the synthesis of metal nano-stars as shown in the figure above, which feature exceptional light absorption and optical resonance behaviour. Both chemical and physical methods will be used to produce a wide range of nanostructures with interesting optical properties.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R513271/1 30/09/2018 29/09/2023
2112435 Studentship EP/R513271/1 30/09/2018 30/03/2022 Jonathan Welsh
Description The electrical properties of a pair of short, rigid molecular wires incorporating 1,2,4-triazolyl anchoring groups have been investigated using the scanning tunnelling microscopy-break junction (STM-BJ) technique favoured by many research groups for measurements on wide ranging molecular structures. These experiments have revealed that stable metal-molecule-metal junctions can be formed for both of these molecules, and the conductance values obtained indicate that the molecules display charge transport properties to other heterocyclic anchoring groups such as oxazole and imidazole, measured using similar techniques under similar conditions, as reported in the literature in the past few years.
Exploitation Route This work may inspire further investigations of the charge transport properties of short, rigid molecular wires with heterocyclic anchoring groups. This may include conductance studies on molecules incorporating different heterocycles as anchoring groups, similar studies on molecules with the same 1,2,4-triazolyl terminating groups but with different core structures or substituents and studies exploring different properties of these molecules, such as the tunnelling decay coefficient (indicative of charge transport efficiency) or possible jump to contact behaviour via pull-push conductance traces.
Sectors Chemicals