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Metalloporphyrin Superstructures

Carlsberg Foundation Visiting Fellowships at University of Oxford

What

This project is about making periodic superstructures, capable of holding many light harvesting units in precise arrangements. The superstructures are porphyrin-based and are envisioned to be formed by a self-assembly process, using discrete molecular rings of metalloporphyrins and small molecule linkers. The nature of these porphyrin rings, namely, their size, symmetry, and flexibility, are expected to contribute towards a directed self-assembly of different classes of superstructures. In their own right, these structures are very appealing. From a photophysical perspective, they are ideal candidates for investigating light-induced energy migration phenomena over long length scales.

Why

The metalloporphyrin superstructures allows us to organise many porphyrin rings into highly ordered arrangements, which we can anticipate by design. This makes it possible to deduce structure-property relationships related to light-induced energy transfer in a highly ordered setting. This is important to understand the natural ordering of porphyrins within photosynthetic reaction centres and for engineering efficient light-harvesting systems.

How

The project will be carried out in the research group of Prof. Harry L. Anderson at the Chemistry Research Laboratory in Oxford with Prof. Andrew Goodwin (Inorganic Chemistry Laboratory) as a close collaborator. The project will include several disciplines. Organic synthesis, complemented by computational modelling, will be used to prepare both porphyrin precursors and superstructures. Once superstructure materials have been made, these will be subjected to careful structural characterisation. To this end, we plan to use a range of solid-phase techniques, including: powder- and single-crystal X-ray diffraction and electron microscopy. Finally, through photophysical experiments, we plan to study the excited state energy migration behaviour of these materials.

SSR

This project will generate fundamental knowledge related to functional materials, light harvesting, photocatalysis, and potentially quantum information science. This may impact across society in the way future technologies can be made more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.