Ph.D. position in chemistry and liquid-state NMR at CEA Saclay, France

As part of a project funded by the French National Agency for Research, we are looking for a highly motivated PhD student to work on continuous hyperpolarized NMR analysis, based on parahydrogen and grafted catalysts, and on its application to the mechanistic study of chemical reactions.

 

Characterization of intermediates at molecular-scale, impurities and possible by-products of chemical reactions could be carried out using NMR, provided that this spectroscopy is sensitive enough. To address this issue, a consortium funded by the French National Agency Research (ANR) is proposing to combine hyperpolarisation, ultra-fast NMR methods and fluidics. Our unit, the NIMBE, is particularly interested in developing a flow system that includes a module dedicated to the increase of nuclear polarization (hyperpolarisation) using parahydrogen.

The PhD student will be involved in this hyperpolarisation method, which should enable us to gain a significant factor in sensitivity. He or she will need to have a good knowledge of chemistry, since the method uses a specific iridium-based catalyst, which will reversibly bind both parahydrogen and a suitable substrate [1]. To ensure that the catalyst interferes as little as possible with the chemical reaction to be studied and that its signals do not crowd the NMR spectrum, this catalyst will be grafted onto nanoparticles confined to a specific portion of the circuit. The rate of grafting, the size of the nanoparticles, their density, the specific surface area and the flow rate will all be important parameters to optimize. Once the method has been validated on model substrates, it will be applied to the study of chemical reactions of interest, with a particular focus on characterizing intermediate states, and thus gaining a better understanding of reaction mechanisms.

The thesis will include aspects of inorganic and organic synthesis, analysis, in particular by NMR in the hyperpolarized state, and data processing. It will be carried out at NIMBE, a joint CEA/CNRS unit in the CEA research center of Saclay, 25 km south-west of Paris. The laboratory has two in-house para-hydrogen production set-ups (including one providing 95% enrichment in para isomer) and high-resolution NMR spectrometers. The hyperpolarized NMR and the synthesis will take place under the respective supervision of Gaspard HUBER and Stéphane CAMPIDELLI. G. HUBER is an expert in parahydrogen-based hyperpolarisation [2] and S. CAMPIDELLI is an expert in nanomaterials and surface modification [3].

Candidates should have a degree in chemistry or physical chemistry, at master's or engineer level, with a strong interest in synthetic chemistry and NMR.

Interested candidates should send a CV, a covering letter and at least one letter of recommendation, together with their post-baccalaureate diplomas and transcripts, to gaspard.huber@cea.fr by 31 May 2024 at the latest.

 

References

[1] Barskiy et al., Prog. Nucl. Magn. Reson. Spectrosc. 2019, 33, 114-115.

[2] Guduff et al., ChemPhysChem, 2019, 20, 392.

[3] Orcin-Chaix et al., J. Mater. Chem. C, 2018, 6, 4786.