Heterogeneous (solid) catalysts are used in 90% of all petrochemical-based industrial processes; heterogeneous catalyst manufacture is worth $250bn annually. Currently, 99% of carbon-based feedstocks used by the chemicals industry (and indirectly by many others) are derived from petroleum and natural gas. The pressure to switch existing chemical processes to more sustainable feedstocks requires the development of new catalysts with significantly different properties. Following the mechanisms of chemical reactions on a solid catalyst’s surfaces, where all the chemistry occurs, is key to understanding the way these catalytic processes work, and how to improve them.
This project aims to develop greater understanding of the surface chemistry in these processes by implementing a new type of Raman Laser spectroscopy not previously used for the study of heterogeneous catalysis. Accordingly there will be a strong emphasis on instrument development and optics/in situ cell construction in this project, and any experience in this area would be strongly advantageous (e.g. from a masters project). However, in tandem with that there will be the opportunity to prepare and test heterogeneous catalysts using nano-materials synthesis techniques, characterizing by other techniques including DRIFTS, TPR/TPO, TEM, XPS, cyclic voltametry. As a trial reaction their initial focus will be on heterogeneous direct epoxidation.
Applications are welcomed from enthusiastic and motivated physical chemistry students who have (or expect to obtain) at least the equivalent of a UK 2.i honours degree in Chemistry. The position is available from October 2013, and the studentship is tenable for 39 months.
Further information of the PI can be found at: http://www.dur.ac.uk/chemistry/staff/profile/?id=10598
Interested applicants should contact Dr Simon Beaumont (Simon.Beaumont@durham.ac.uk) with a covering letter and CV, including the names of two academic references. Potential applicants are also welcome to contact Dr Simon Beaumont with informal enquiries about this opportunity in advance of a formal application.
Deadline: 01 Feb 2013, however, early applications are strongly advised as the position may be filled if a suitable candidate is identified prior to this deadline.
Funding Notes: Due to funding restrictions the position is only open to applicants from the UK.