Summer Student Project: ISIS-3

Deuteration Facility Summer Students

ISIS is a world-leading neutron and muon facility whose user community depend on the provision of speciality chemicals which are isotopically-labelled in order to effectively perform their experiments. The Deuteration Facility aims to provide such materials, in particular organic molecules and systems where hydrogen has been exchanged for its heavier isotope deuterium. You will be involved in the development and execution of custom synthetic pathways in order to generate high-quality products for use by the ISIS and ILL user communities.

Although some deuterium-containing molecules are commercially-available in gram quantities (for instance those commonly used as NMR solvents) most systems of interest to the user community are prohibitively expensive, or are not commercially-available at all. The Deuteration Facility provides custom synthesis of target isotopic materials for the ISIS and ILL user communities in order to enable their experimental programmes.

Requests for materials span a wide range of different types compounds, including amino acids, surfactants, organic/inorganic salts, small drug molecules etc., and target syntheses typically need to be developed. Furthermore, high purity of the products is required and so careful purification and characterisation of the target materials must be performed. You will be involved in the development and execution of custom synthetic pathways in order to generate high-quality products for use by the ISIS and ILL user communities. 

Project 1: Tetraalkylammonium Salts

One set of chemicals that are being asked for are the tetraalkylammonium salts. The aim is to optimise the synthesis of a range of these materials. There are many different routes in the literature, but we require a method that is optimised for both yield (as the deuterated precursor is expensive) and purity (as purification of the salts can be difficult). This would require someone that can work methodically and develop a good synthetic method and purification strategy.

Project 2: Carbohydrate Deuteration

Deuteratation of carbohydrates can fall under two different categories. The exchange of the hydroxyls is simple, what would be more useful is a deuterated material in which the C-H groups have been exchanged. There is literature precedence for the synthesis of perdeuterated glucose and after this synthesis is tested it would be useful to know if it could be adapted for other carbohydrates such as galactose or mannose.

Supervisors: Marek Jura (marek.jura@stfc.ac.uk) / Peixun Li (peixun.li@stfc.ac.uk)

You might particularly like this if you are interested in any of these: chemistry, chemical engineering, natural sciences.

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