Post-doc on solid-state NMR of photoresponsive materials in Lancaster (UK)

The aim of this 3-year project is to use and develop solid-state NMR methods for the study of energy storage mechanisms in solar thermal fuels (STFs).

STFs are materials that store solar energy through light-induced changes in their molecular structure, and release it on demand at a later time in the form of heat. The energy capacity of STFs is comparable to lithium-ion batteries, and they are fully cyclable as they can be “recharged” after use through re-exposure to sunlight. STFs therefore offer huge potential as a new technology for providing useful and renewable heat energy, particularly for applications where periodic heating is required such as night-time heating in buildings or de-icing. However, while several types of liquid STFs have been demonstrated, solid-state photoswitching is relatively rare and therefore the design and optimisation of STF materials as devices or coatings is a major challenge.

The project will involve preparing solid-state STFs based on microporous organic and metal-organic frameworks containing molecular photoswitches. The focus will be on understanding structure-property relationships to promote isomerisation of molecular photoswitches in the solid-state. This will be done by studying STFs with solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and X-ray diffraction techniques incorporating in situ light irradiation into the experiments.

Requirements
Candidates must have (or be about to obtain) a PhD in Chemistry or a related discipline, coupled with experience in solid-state materials characterisation. Previous experience in either of solid-state NMR, first-principles DFT calculations, powder/ single crystal X-ray diffraction techniques and/or synthesis of microporous materials is highly desirable.

Group/Location
The project will be supervised by Drs John Griffin and Nathan Halcovitch in the Department of Chemistry at Lancaster University. The department hosts widebore 400 and 700 MHz solid-state NMR spectrometers with a range of probes including a custom-design MAS probe allowing in situ light irradiation of the sample.

Application procedure
This position starts on the 1st April 2019. Informal e-mail enquiries prior to making an application are welcomed, in which case contact Dr. John Griffin (j.griffin@lancaster.ac.uk) or Dr. Nathan Halcovitch (n.r.halcovitch@lancaster.ac.uk). Please apply for the position online through the Lancaster University portal - https://hr-jobs.lancs.ac.uk/Vacancy.aspx?ref=A2556