Our work spans the areas of inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry and materials science and focuses on the development of functional inorganic materials which exhibit novel electronic, optical and magnetic phenomena.
Potential applications range from the capture of greenhouse gases to sensors, optoelectronics devices and photocatalysis.
Our key aim is to gain an understanding of the fundamental relationships between the structural features of the solution – and solid – state materials and their physical properties using a barrage of techniques.
This project involves the design and synthesis of metal-organic frameworks which exhibit the highly sought-after properties of redox-activity and electronic conductivity. The new materials will be based on mixed-valence metal clusters of Mo, W, Ru, Os and redox-active bridging ligands. Solid-state electrochemical and spectroelectrochemical techniques will be developed to investigate the conductivity properties. The opportunities for advances at a fundamental and applied level are immense, with potential applications ranging from sensors to molecular electronics devices. This project is being supported through an Australian Research Council QEII grant.
Projects available in this area:
Each sub-project requires students to develop a broad range of skills and techniques from the synthesis and structural characterisation of MOFs, to the detailed analysis of their optical and electrochemical properties.
This project will be supported under an Australian Research Council grant from 2012-2015 in collaboration with Prof. Cameron Kepert. This work seeks to examine the highly novel phenomena arising from the coexistence of electron delocalisation and unpaired spins in framework materials. This is an essentially unexplored area in the field of MOFs, which is enabled by the expertise of our group in probing electronic and optical phenomena in such materials, and the expertise of Prof. Cameron Kepert's group in spin crossover, magnetic interactions and thermal expansion in framework solids. More information will be available soon and please contact me for more information on this exciting project.
The development of more efficient processes for carbon dioxide capture is considered a key to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions implicated in global warming. Highly porous three-dimensional solids known as metal-organic frameworks will be developed for use as capture materials and will be characterised using a barrage of techniques (X-ray and neutron diffraction, thermogravimetric analysis and gas sorption measurements). The ultimate goal is the development of industrially-viable materials which can be readily integrated into industrial processes. This work is part of a major Australian initiative which was supported by the Science and Industry Endowment Fund.
Two projects available in this area:
|(1) The development of electrocatalysts based on MOFs incorporating salophen and cyclen metalloligands; and|
|(2) The development of photocatalysts based on MOFs incorporating rhenium tricarbonyl chloride metalloligands.|
Recently, methodologies for the postsynthetic covalent functionalisation of metal-organic frameworks have opened up fascinating prospects for building complexity into the pores. This project will involve the synthesis of materials as “photoswitchable molecular sieves” in which light can be used to modulate the size and polarity of the pores. The structural and physical properties of the materials will require the development of novel techniques to probe the light-activated gas permeation properties.
The complex interplay between electronic and magnetic interactions is ubiquitous in chemical and physical systems (e.g., solid-state superconductors, spintronics devices) and in metalloenzymes in nature. Experimental studies in which these phenomena coexist are extremely rare. This will be addressed by developing dinuclear mixed-valence complexes which incorporate a series of bridging ligands that can mediate strong ferromagnetic “double-exchange coupling” between metal ions with unpaired electrons. The findings will have significant implications for the experimental and theoretical understanding of systems which exhibit novel magnetic and electronic phenomena.
Where are they now? Former members of the group have pursued a wide range of career paths, from teaching, to working in various arms of the Australian government and reserve bank, to scientific publishing and academic positions around the globe. See some of the many professions below that a degree in chemistry can lead you to!
Prospective PhD Students:
Australian Students: Australian Postgraduate Awards (APAs) and University of Sydney Postgraduate Awards (UPAs) are competitive grants that are awarded on the basis of merit. If you are a current Honours student at an Australian university. Full details are available here. As a PhD student, you are eligible for a number of travel grants to attend national and international conferences, and to support research visits to overseas facilities and laboratories.
International Students: Depending on your home country, numerous scholarship opportunites exist if you are interested in undertaking a PhD in my group. Full details and links to these scholarships are available here and include but are not limited to those below. If you are interested in applying for any of these scholarships, or if you would like to discuss support for your PhD degree, please send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For information about opportunities to work or collaborate with the D'Alessandro Group please contact Deanna D'Allesandro.