Spin crossover in metal-organic frameworks

The design, synthesis, and characterisation of spin-crossover materials embedded in metal-organic frameworks.

Start date

1 October 2022


3.5 years

Application deadline

Funding source


Funding information

UK fees covered. Stipend of c. £16,062 p.a. for 2022-23.


The spin-crossover (SCO) phenomenon is one of the most dramatic examples of bistability. It occurs in some metal complexes where there is a reversible switching between high-spin and low-spin electron configurations as a response to external perturbations. Most commonly the trigger is a change in temperature but changes in pressure, light irradiation and magnetic fields have been used. SCO also results in changes to the complex light absorption, magnetism, and molecular size. As such SCO materials are useful components in molecular switches and may act in synergy with other properties of a material. For example, they can act as molecular actuators that reversibly moderate the structure of a compound and thus moderate any properties reliant on structure such as electrical conductivity. At the same time Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) are being widely investigations for a range of uses from gas adsorption and purification to catalysis or drug delivery. MOFs consist of metals or metal clusters that are bridged by organic linkers, leading to open framework materials reminiscent of Zeolites. But MOFs are much more chemically flexible than Zeolites, open to modifying the organic linkers and metal centres.

The research objectives are to incorporate SCO centres into MOFs with a view to producing smart materials that can change function with external perturbations. For example, the MOF pore volume and adsorption characteristics can change depending on the operating temperature or can be switched by light irradiation. The project will mainly involve the design, synthesis, and characterisation of novel SCO-MOF materials, involving a mixture of coordination chemistry and organic synthesis, along with obtaining experience in a variety of techniques such as SQUID magnetometry, X-ray diffraction and Raman spectroscopy.

Eligibility criteria

Applicants are expected to hold a first or upper-second class degree in Chemistry or an associated relevant discipline, or a lower second plus a good Masters degree (distinction normally required).

This project is for UK candidates, only UK fees are covered.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you will be required to have an IELTS Academic of 6.5 or above (or equivalent), with no sub-test score below 6.

How to apply

Applications can be made through the Chemistry PhD page via the “apply" tab. Please clearly state the studentship title and supervisor on your application.

Chemistry PhD

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Application deadline

Contact details

Scott Turner
33 AZ 03
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 686847
E-mail: s.s.turner@surrey.ac.uk



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