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Fully-Funded (Home/EU Rate) PhD Studentship (Fixed Term) - Linking Disorder and Application in Porous Hybrid Frameworks

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 4 years in the first instance.

Applications are invited for a 4 year PhD studentship (EPSRC Industrial CASE award, co-funded by Johnson Matthey). Further information on the iCase award scheme can be found on the EPSRC website (

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are porous hybrid materials, which are able to differentiate molecules based not only on size, but also on chemistry. Over 99.9% of the 60,000 structures reported are crystalline solids. Intensive research efforts and industrial finance are invested into highly crystalline 'defect-free structures'. This assumed relationship between crystallinity and functional properties is however fundamentally opposed to the logic employed in related fields of polymers and glasses, which are used widely across the materials spectrum in e.g. catalysis and separations. The project will focus on the structural characterization and properties of industrially relevant materials of low crystallinity.

The student will (1) Synthesise several prototypical metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) of current industrial interest, in a variety of physical states ranging from "defect free" to fully amorphous. (2) Evaluate their application for e.g. gas sorption, separation and catalysis in conjunction with JM. (3) Use advanced characterization techniques e.g. EXAFS and pair distribution function (PDF) measurements to identify the source of the reduction in crystallinity and its impact upon application.

The minimum academic requirement for admission is an upper second class UK honours degree at the level of MSci, MEng, MPhys, MChem etc, or a lower second with a good Master's, (or overseas equivalents) in a relevant subject.

The studentship provides a maintenance grant at the minimum Research Council UK rate and tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for students who fully satisfy the residence requirements of the UK Research Councils. A fees-only award will be available to EU nationals who are not ordinarily resident in the UK. Students who are liable for fees at the 'overseas' rate are not eligible for these studentships.

Further information about the project is available from Dr Thomas D Bennett (

Applications should be submitted to the Graduate Admissions Office ( by Monday 15 January 2018. A £50 application fee applies at this stage. Further information on the application process is available from Dr Rosie Ward (

Please quote reference LJ14185 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

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