Proton-detection in solid-state NMR to study Frustrated Lewis-Pairs #DNPNMR

The recently established research group of Dr. Thomas Wiegand is embedded in the Magnetic Resonance Research Center led by Prof. Arno Kentgens at the Institute of Molecules and Materials at Radboud University Nijmegen (The Netherlands). A central line of research in the Wiegand lab is to detect noncovalent interactions by solid-state Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy in molecular recognition processes from both fields, materials sciences and biology. The group is focusing on unravelling catalytic reactions (e.g. hydrogenation reactions), self-assembly phenomena in the context of phase separation and protein-nucleic acid interactions. The lab is equipped with NMR spectrometers up to 850 MHz with access to the 1.2 GHz magnet installed soon in Utrecht.

The project will focus on the development and application of fast Magic-Angle Spinning experiments at > 110 kHz to detect protons which serve as highly sensitive reporters for noncovalent interactions. The student will develop an understanding of the physical origin of the residual proton linewidths at fast MAS in powdered materials as well as establish solid-state NMR approaches allowing the quantification of the strength of noncovalent interactions, e.g. hydrogen bonds. In that vein, catalytic reactions involving Frustrated Lewis-Pairs (FLPs), particularly hydrogenation reactions, will be investigated. The group has a profound knowledge in studying FLPs (typically main-group based molecules undergoing a wide variety of small molecule activation) by solid-state NMR. A further focus of the project will lie on performing Para Hydrogen Induced Polarization (PHIP) experiments to access kinetic information about such FLP-based hydrogenation reactions. The final goal is to design novel FLP-based heterogeneous catalysts and study their reactions by solid-state NMR approaches, especially also employing Dynamic Nuclear Polarization (DNP) to enhance the signal-to-noise ratios in such experiments.

The successful candidate should have a strong interest in spectroscopic techniques and in their applications to materials sciences. Basic experience in NMR is beneficial. Interest in practical work in the chemistry laboratory is expected, since the student will prepare the samples in collaboration with our partners.

Prerequisites are a Master in Chemistry, Physics, Interdisciplinary Sciences, or related areas. Applications with motivation letter, CV, university transcripts with exam grades and contact details for two academic references should be sent by email directly to Dr. Thomas Wiegand (t.wiegand@science.ru.nl). Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. The position is available from May 2020 (negotiable).

More information about the ongoing projects in the solid-state NMR lab and the hardware available can be found at https://www.ru.nl/science/magneticresonance/. Questions regarding the position should be directed to Dr. Wiegand by email.

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