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.
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: Flow Chemistry Method Development
We have recently acquired a flow system that has the capability of deuterating a wide range of systems from deuteration of alkanes, synthesising simple building blocks to functionalising imidazoles. As this is a new piece of equipment all the chemistry would be new to the group. This project would require someone that can work methodically to develop good synthetic methods for the deuteration of a range of compounds.
Project 2: Amino Acid Synthesis
Amino acids are frequently requested from the ISIS Deuteration Facility, whilst some of the simpler versions have been prepared in house, there are still many more that require synthesising. There is a literature precedent for the preparation of aspartic acid, glutamic acid, glutamine, asparagine and phenylalanine, it would be useful to know how well these syntheses work for synthesising deuterated analogues and how well the reactions would scale.
Supervisor: Sarah Youngs