The CNRS laboratory CEISAM, which is part of Nantes University in France, invites applicants for a 24 months post-doctoral position for the development of molecular catalysts for reduction of CO2 and nitrate to make C-N bond. The position is open for appointment from 01.01.2023.
Efficient carbon dioxide reduction to useful molecules such as carbon monoxide, formic acid, formaldehyde or methanol, stands as an important challenge and would allow decreasing our reliance on fossil fuels while concurrently curtailing our primary sources of carbon-based feedstock chemicals for materials synthesis. Likewise, the increased use of fertilizers and pesticides in agriculture and waste effluent discharged from industries and domestic sewage are the anthropogenic sources of a large fraction of nitrate pollution that causes eutrophication and poses a health risk to drinking water. Remediation of these pollutants by their reduction into benign and valuable products would naturally have a tremendous impact.
3d transition metal complexes of Fe, Co and Ni with phthalocyanine, porphyrin and polypyridine ligands have emerged as extremely attractive systems for our objectives, because of their (i) low cost, (ii) high stability, (iii) general electrocatalytic activity and particularly for CO2, H2O, NO2− and NO3− reduction, (iv) high tunability upon metal complexation and substituent modifications.1 However, their catalytic activities can be still largely improved by introducing modification of the second coordination sphere (i.e., groups in the vicinity of the metal that do not directly interact with it), such as acid/base groups or charged moieties, which can stabilize intermediates and/or transition states through noncovalent interactions and hence decrease the overpotential, but also enhance or change product selectivity. Lower overpotential means electric energy consumption owing to the decrease of cell voltage.
Capitalizing on our recent fundamental and practical efforts, in this project we will design innovative molecular catalysts with advanced functionalities for CO2 and NO3− reduction.2 More specifically, we propose in this project to develop systematic fundamental studies based on the tuning the second coordination sphere of metal phthalocyanine or porphyrin derivatives and metal quaterpyridines to elucidate the key features at the origin of the formation of the multi-electron multi-proton reduction products. They will be employed not only for activating the targeted substrates CO and CH3OH (from carbon dioxide), and NH4+/NH3 (from nitrite and nitrate ions), but also for simultaneously reducing several substrates, such as CO2 and NO2− so as to create C-N bonds (e.g. methylamine or urea). It is a stimulating objective, because it will allow to electrochemically synthesize complex organonitrogen compounds such as urea and methylamine and even beyond, molecules that are ubiquitous in the chemical industry.
In close collaboration with the team of Prof. Marc Robert (Paris University), the electrocatalytic properties of the prepared catalysts will be then investigated after their immobilization on carbon based materials. In parallel, quantum chemical calculations will be conducted in another group (Prof. Denis Jacquemin at CEISAM) to guide rationally the development of these catalysts, to shed some light on the catalytic mechanisms and finally to predict catalysts with higher activity. Overall, the main objective of the present project is to develop innovative catalysts for CO2 and nitrate reduction with spatially well-positioned functional groups in order to reach outstanding, unprecedented performances. The promises of this project are to develop cost-effective, stable and efficient electrocatalysts with noble-free metal and working in water for reduction of proton, carbon dioxide and nitrate into high added value products (CO, MeOH, NH3), that can find valuable uses in the sectors of energy and chemical industry.
The multidisciplinary thesis project is part of large collaborative program based on a close synergy between experimentalists and theoreticians involving researchers from other public research institutes with highly complementary expertise in molecular chemistry, electrocatalysis, materials science, theoretical (electro)chemistry and analytical chemistry.
1. (a) E. Boutin; L. Merakeb; B. Ma; B. Boudy; M. Wang; J. Bonin; E. Anxolabéhère-Mallart; M. Robert, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2020, 49, 16, 5772-5809; (b) K. E. Dalle; J. Warnan; J. J. Leung; B. Reuillard; I. S. Karmel; E. Reisner, Chem. Rev., 2019, 119, 4, 2752-2875.
2. (a) R. Wang; E. Boutin; N. Barreau; F. Odobel; J. Bonin; M. Robert, ChemPhotoChem, 2021, 5, 8, 705-710; (b) P. B. Pati; R. Wang; E. Boutin; S. Diring; S. Jobic; N. Barreau; F. Odobel; M. Robert, Nature Commun., 2020, 11, 1, 3499.Benefits
As an employee in France, you will have full access to an optimal health service.
The average net salary is about 2200 € per month depending on the experience.Required Research Experiences
Chemistry › Organic chemistry
1 - 4
Chemistry › Homogeneous catalysis
1 - 4
Chemistry › Molecular chemistry
1 - 4Offer Requirements
Chemistry: PhD or equivalent
The main aim of this project is to design and develop novel molecular catalysts that will tested for the reduction of CO2, NO3- and NO2-. The candidate will be involved in the following tasks:
1- Synthesis and characterization of molecular catalysts (phthalocyanines, porphyrins and polypyridine complexes) requiring skills in organic synthesis and coordination chemistry.
2- Investigate the catalytic performances with the synthesized catalysts.
3- Presentation of results at progress meetings with the consortium.
4- Writing of reports (bibliography and experimental results).
We are searching for a particularly motivated scientist holding a PhD in chemistry and interested by a project merging organic synthesis and electrocatalysis. The candidate must be particularly skilled in organic synthesis and competences in electrochemistry are also of interest. Typical expected applicants are those with a past research experience in the areas of electrocatalysis with the development of hydrogen evolution or CO2 reduction catalysts and familiar with electrochemistry. Applicants particularly skilled in organic synthesis (porphyrin and phthalocyanine chemistry) and interested to be trained in electrocatalysis are also welcome. Moreover, the candidate should be self-motivated and able to conduct fast paced research and work independently in a team-oriented environment. The researcher will be hosted in a friendly group and should be ready and happy to participate in team work.Specific Requirements
Applicants must have been awarded with a PhD in chemistry. We are seeking a highly motivated, creative researcher particularly skilled and experienced in organic chemistry for developing a project in the area of catalysis in strong connection with for sustainable chemistry.Contact Information