2 PhD Positions - Organic/Organometallic Chemistry: Dinitrogen Valorization & Interstellar Molecules
Are you interested in joining a research team that develops reactive organometallic complexes for small molecule activation? Are you interested in designing systems that can intercept molecules that have traditionally been considered unstable or even non-existent? Would you like to explain what triggers bond-forming and bond-breaking reactions to proceed in the “right” or in the “wrong” direction? As a doctoral student in the Reinholdt group, you will explore low-valent transition metal complexes, main group elements, electrophilic nitrogen fragments, and phosphorus-based multiple bonds, among other things. You will become an expert in inert-atmosphere synthesis, spectroscopy, electronic structure, and reaction mechanisms. The Swedish Research Council and The Centre for Analysis and Synthesis at Lund University fund the position, which spans 4 years, starting July 1, 2023 or as soon as possible.
The main duties of doctoral students are to devote themselves to their research studies which includes participating in research projects and third cycle courses. The work duties will also include teaching and other departmental duties (no more than 15–20%).
Your main research objectives will fall within syntetic organometallic chemistry. This area of chemistry (cf. Nobel Prizes 2005, 2010, 2022) enables studies on some of the most unusual and reactive molecules that exist. As a doctoral student in our group, you will synthesize reactive metal complexes and design ligands for controlling their reactivity and electronic structure. You will invent methods for intercepting and stabilizing small molecules that would only have fleeting existence under “normal” reaction conditions. In some cases, you will discover reactions where bonds form and break in unexpected ways. Specific themes in your research could include:
- N2 functionalization & Synthesis of azide from atmospheric nitrogen
Perspectives: Conversion of atmospheric dinitrogen into an azide is an unsolved scientific challenge, because this type of reaction has a thermodynamically uphill energetic profile and (invariably) tends to proceed in the opposite direction. Solving this challenge could form the basis for energy-storing technologies (nitrogen economy), to benefit society.
- Isolation of heavy-atom analogs of N2 such as NP and NAs
Perspectives: Unusual diatomic molecules, such as PN, are unstable under terrestrial conditions but can be observed in interstellar space. The isolation of stabilized forms of PN could enable reactivity- and electronic structure studies of an interstellar molecule in a laboratory on Earth. This could open for discovery of unprecedented reaction types, providing a better understanding of the prebiotic chemistry of the Universe.
- Generation of complexes and molecules with phosphorus-based triple bonds
Perspectives: Phosphorus forms highly reactive triple bonds with metal- and carbon fragments. Molecules incorporating such functionalities would open new synthetic methodologies toward phosphorus-based materials and pharmaceuticals.
- Small-molecule activation using low-valent transition metal fragments
Perspectives: Transition metals have a unique ability to convert inexpensive, readily available small molecules to larger, value-added fragments. The metals act as electron reservoirs during the consecutive steps in these conversions. However, the inherent thermodynamic stability of many small molecules is a major hurdle, which precludes facile conversion into useful products. Being key to sustaining a growing population, small-molecule activation is of profound interest to society and science.
The overarching motivation behind our studies begins with a fascination of the elements in the Periodic Table. We attempt to answer three fundamental questions: 1) Why do some chemical bonds predominantly break, while others form? 2) What constitutes a stable molecule, and can we push the boundaries for stability? 3) How do molecules interconvert, and can we devise ways to control it? Our research aims at addressing which types of bonding can exist between elements of the periodic table, and which functional groups and molecules can be created as a result. In addition to fundamental research interest, these projects have perspectives in fields such as energy storage, astrochemistry, and prebiotic chemistry.
You have extensive research-based experience within synthetic inorganic, organometallic, or organic chemistry. You have a creative approach to chemistry and want to develop your own ideas. You work in a structured and indepenent mannner and document your results well. You have experience with characterization methods such as UV-vis, IR, and in particular NMR spectroscopy. It is an advantage if you have experience with other types of spectroscopy, electrochemistry, catalysis, or X-ray crystallography.
Upon completing your Ph.D. in our research group, you will have built a wide array of skills in organometallic chemistry:
Comprehensive understanding of organometallic chemistry and forefront research in this field. Participation in international collaborations and research conferences. Planning and execution of research projects, writing of scientific papers. Air-free synthesis (Schlenk and particularly glovebox techniques) Spectroscopic techniques (NMR, IR, UV-vis, EPR). Electrochemistry. Magnetic studies on complexes in solution. Structural methods (X-ray diffraction). Reactivity studies, including kinetics and catalysis. Electronic structure studies.
We are a newly established organometallic research group at Lund University, which consists of Assistant Professor Anders Reinholdt and one other doctoral student. We are looking forward to welcoming our next co-worker! For further information, feel free to contact Anders Reinholdt (email@example.com).
A person meets the general admission requirements for third-cycle courses and study programmes if he or she:
has been awarded a second-cycle qualification, or has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second cycle, or has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.
Proficiency in written and spoken English is expected; good knowledge of Swedish is an advantage but not required.
Selection for third-cycle studies is based on the student’s potential to profit from such studies. The assessment of potential is made primarily on the basis of academic results from the first and second cycle. Special attention is paid to the following:
Knowledge and skills relevant to the thesis project and the subject of study. An assessment of ability to work independently and to formulate and tackle research problems. Written and oral communication skills Other experience relevant to the third-cycle studies, e.g. professional experience.
Other assessment criteria:
Along with the documents required for the application (cover letter, CV, transcripts, etc.), we would be pleased if you submit a short outline of a research project you envision working on in the Reinholdt group (1 page including graphics and references). This outline serves to demonstrate your scientific creativity! Your actual research may take a completely different path.
Consideration will also be given to good collaborative skills, drive and independence, and how the applicant, through his or her experience and skills, is deemed to have the abilities necessary for successfully completing the third cycle programme.
Terms of employment
Only those admitted to third cycle studies may be appointed to a doctoral studentship. Doctoral studentships are regulated in the Higher Education Ordinance (1993:100), chapter 5, 1-7 §§.
Instructions on how to apply
Applications shall be written in English and include a cover letter stating the reasons why you are interested in the position and in what way the research project corresponds to your interests and educational background. The application must also contain a CV, degree certificate or equivalent, and other documents you wish to be considered (grade transcripts, contact information for your references, letters of recommendation, etc.). Please include a short outline of a research project (see above, Assessment criteria).
LINK TO APPLICATION PLATFORM: