[Expired] PhD position at Collège de France: bio-inspired heteropolymetallic clusters for carbon dioxide reduction
This PhD project, starting October 2017 for a 3-year duration, aims to develop new bio-inspired heteropolymetallic metal-sulfur clusters for the reduction of CO2 into energetically more valuable products.
Carbon dioxide has become increasingly recognized as a valuable resource, and its large scale conversion into useful chemicals has the potential to provide cheap and renewable alternatives to fossil fuels. However, a current scientific bottleneck is the development of effective catalysts for CO2 reduction. Redox enzymes that catalyze this reaction in nature provide a unique inspiration to the synthetic chemist.
This research project aims to develop new catalytic systems for the reduction of CO2 into energetically more valuable products. The two main requirements to be met for developing an efficient system for reducing CO2 are the ability to deliver several electrons and protons to the substrate, in order to target more thermodynamically stable products, and the ability to coordinate CO2 and modify its electronic structure in order to reduce the kinetic barrier for its reduction. Hence, the focus of the proposed work will be on the development of catalytic systems combining electron reservoirs with active sites for CO2 activation. This approach will take inspiration from naturally occurring systems in enzymes, and will be centered on the use of heteropolymetallic complexes. These complexes will either be directly used as catalysts or will be coupled to Fe -sulfur clusters to provide multiple electrons to a remote active site.
Further integration of such electro and photocatalytic systems into devices by covalent grafting on surfaces (electrodes, semi-conductors, etc.) will improve their efficiencies and stabilities, potentially leading to applications in the field of artificial photosynthesis. This project will involve a multidisciplinary approach based on coordination and organometallic chemistry, catalysis, electrochemistry as well as enzymatic and bio-inspired catalysis. It will benefit from the numerous facilities of the Laboratory of Chemistry of Biological Processes (LCBP) at Collège de France to investigate molecular chemistry and electrocatalysis, including synthetic laboratories, extensive analytical tools for compound characterization as well as for the detection of CO2 reduction products, and cutting edge photo- and electrochemical equipment for catalytic studies. The PhD student will work under the supervision of Prof. Marc Fontecave and will be co-supervised by Dr Victor Mougel.