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Research Associate: Development of Solid-State Solar Thermal Fuels

Salary:   £27,831 to £32,236
Closing Date:   Thursday 28 February 2019
Interview Date:   Wednesday 13 March 2019
Reference:  A2556

This 36-month fixed-term post is part of a Leverhulme Trust-funded project to study the structural chemistry of solar thermal fuels, which are a new class of materials for solar energy conversion and storage. The project will be supervised by Drs John Griffin and Nathan Halcovitch in the Department of Chemistry and Materials Science Institute .

Solar thermal fuels (STFs) 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 aim of this project is to create and characterise new 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 advanced solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and X-ray diffraction techniques incorporating light irradiation into the experiments.

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

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 ( or Dr Nathan Halcovitch (

We are committed to family-friendly and flexible working policies on an individual basis. The department holds an Athena SWAN Bronze Award, which recognizes and celebrates good employment practice undertaken to address gender equality in Higher Education and research. 

We welcome applications from people in all diversity groups.

The closing date for this job opportunity has now passed, and applications are no longer being accepted for this position

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