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Development of carbon-based heterogeneous (photo)catalysts

PGR-P-106

Key facts

Type of research degree
PhD
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Country eligibility
International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
Funding
Competition funded
Supervisors
Dr Natalia Sergeeva
Schools
School of Chemistry
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

The chemical industry uses precious metals or metal oxides based catalysts. These catalysts are expensive and are not highly selective, increasing waste and producing greenhouse gases. In contrast, carbon based materials are environmentally acceptable and cheap combining efficient use of energy and resources. In heterogeneous materials, electrical, thermal and photophysical properties can be controlled and modulated providing a broad range of applications. We have demonstrated that organic dyes can be successfully used to construct a surface supported nanomaterials. Covalently modified surfaces with (photo)active units, become increasingly important as they offer stability, show more superior properties in contrast to supramolecular interactions or individual components. Interest lies in (photo)catalytic processes whereby highly reactive intermediates can be generated and used under mild conditions to construct novel metal-free hybrid catalysts for a given application. Different projects are available in this area in: Oxidation of alkanes as a feedstock of high-value-added chemicals. Oxidation of cheap alkanes to high-value-added chemicals is an important industrial challenge. Selectivity of oxidation using various industrially relevant catalytic systems, is poor due to inertness of the C-H bonds and the chemical process is problematic to control, leading to over-oxidation. The production of terephthalic acid and cyclohexanone from alkanes is achieved. It uses metal catalysts and a large quantity of acid to yield only moderate selectivity. Focus is on design and testing of recyclable graphene based catalysts to decrease the negative economic and environmental impact of these processes. Oxygen reduction metal-free electrocatalysts - Oxygen reduction is central to many industrially relevant applications such as energy storage and conversion devices. However, slow kinetics of the electrochemical oxygen reduction is a limitation, and requires a catalyst such as Pt. Current developments focus on replacement of platinum with cheaper and more efficient metals. Focus will be on development of metal free carbon-based alternatives and develop photocatalysts for metal-free type of C-C bond formation. The project aims to develop: 1) the metal free hybrid photocatalysts and 2) the analytical platform to assess their oxidation and reduction abilities. Our choice of photocatalysts&amp;rsquo;s design is directed by two objectives: (i) modification of graphene surface by planar, electron-rich molecules sensitive to photochemical ET with high extinction coefficient in visible region; (ii) methodology allowing efficient and solution-processable functionalisation for Metal-free catalysis for the degradation of organic pollutants. The project aims to develop an analytical platform for degradation of pollutants e.g. organic dyes in waste water using metal-free carbon based (photo)catalysts.

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.leeds.ac.uk/info/130206/applying/91/applying_for_research_degrees">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is &lsquo;Development of carbon-based heterogeneous (photo)catalysts&rsquo; as well as&nbsp;<a href="https://physicalsciences.leeds.ac.uk/staff/207/dr-natalia-sergeeva">Dr Natalia Sergeeva</a>&nbsp;as your proposed supervisor.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>We welcome applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.</em></p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p><strong>Self-Funding Students are welcome to apply.</strong></p> <p><strong>UK&nbsp;students</strong>&nbsp;&ndash;&nbsp;The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/138-leeds-doctoral-scholarships-2021-january-deadline">Leeds Doctoral Scholarship (January deadline)</a>&nbsp;and the&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/118-lund-stephenson-clarke-scholarship-2021">Lund Stephenson Clarke Scholarship&nbsp;</a>are available to UK applicants. &nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/60-alumni-bursary">Alumni Bursary</a> is available to graduates of the University of Leeds.</p> <p><strong>International students</strong>&nbsp;&ndash;The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/48-china-scholarship-council-university-of-leeds-scholarships-2021">China Scholarship Council - University of Leeds Scholarship</a>&nbsp;is available to nationals of China. The&nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/73-leeds-marshall-scholarship">Leeds Marshall Scholarship</a>&nbsp;is available to support US citizens. &nbsp;<a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk/funding/60-alumni-bursary">Alumni Bursary</a> is available to graduates of the University of Leeds.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information regarding your application,&nbsp;please contact Doctoral College Admissions by&nbsp;email: <a href="mailto:maps.pgr.admissions@leeds.ac.uk">maps.pgr.admissions</a><a href="mailto:EMAIL@leeds.ac.uk">@leeds.ac.uk</a>, or by telephone: +44 (0)113 343 5057.</p> <p>For further information regarding the project, please contact Dr Natalia Sergeeva by email:&nbsp;&nbsp;<a href="mailto:N.Sergeeva@leeds.ac.uk">N.Sergeeva@leeds.ac.uk</a></p>