Research objectives and content
The research objectives of the present proposal are to develop the chemistry of heterofullerenes (on-ball nitrogen-subsituted fullerenes), principally in the solid state, and to provide a fundamental understanding of the electronic structure and physical properties of the resulting novel materials. In particular, the structural, conducting, magnetic and electronic properties will be studied and correlated in an effort to understand the role of heteroatom substitution on the fullerene skeleton and thus to synthesise heterofullerene-based materials with equally exciting superconducting and magnetic properties like those of their fullerene antecedents.
At a first step, the synthesis and purification of the pristine parent materials (dimerised azafullerene, hydroazafullerene) will be optimised to allow both targeted and exploratory synthetic work. This will be followed by the synthesis of intercalated azafulleride salts with a variety of stoichiometries through reactions with both inorganic and organic donors (e.g. alkali metals, tetrakisdimethylaminoethylene). Optimisation of the synthetic conditions will then lead to the availability of high quality solid samples whose structurals, conducting, electronic and magnetic properties will be studied.
Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
The proposed research programme will allow my training at the postdoctoral level in a world-class laboratory. The interdisciplinary and complex nature of fullerene research will ensure that I will get a broad-based and up-to-date training in both synthetic and physical characterisation techniques, as well as in the collection, interpretation and communication of scientific results. Fullerene science is a young, dynamic and higly competitive discipline, and as such it provides an excellent medium for m scientific development and training.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)
The host group has an ongoing (since 1993) industrial collaboration with the NEC company which is partially supporting it fullerene research both through financial support and through hosting graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in its laboratories and providing appropriate training in areas of the company's expertise.