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School of Physical and Chemical Sciences

Helicenes for Molecular Junctions

Research Group: Chemistry
Number of Students: 1
Length of Study in Years: 4 Years
Full-time Project: yes


  • Applicant required to start in September 2024.
  • The funding for the 4-year PhD position will provide full coverage of tuition fees and an annual tax-free stipend of £20,410 for the first year, rising in the following years. 

Project Description

The introduction of chirality into conjugated organic semiconductors can result in more sustainable electronic devices, such as more efficient OLED screens for smartphones or TVs, and bring new functionality to emerging technologies.1,2 An extraordinary recent discovery in chiral materials research has been the observation of the Chiral Induced Spin Selectivity (CISS) effect: spin-selective charge transport through chiral molecules.3 The spin control exhibited by chiral molecules could lead to the enhanced hydrogen production in water splitting4 and faster, more efficient devices, by enabling the combination of spin and charge (spintronics) in computer processors.

However, the full technological potential of the CISS effect has yet to be realised, partly due to our limited understanding of the effect. This project will investigate the charge transport and spin filtering behaviour of single chiral molecules through a collaboration with Dr Jan Mol (an expert in the fabrication and characterisation of single molecule junctions,5 Queen Mary University of London). In this highly interdisciplinary project, the successful candidate will synthesise organic molecules called helicenes that possess a helically chiral – yet fully aromatic – backbone to combine good charge transport and high spin filtering. The helicenes will be prepared using a photochemical flow synthesis currently being developed by the Brandt group. While traditional, batch-based photochemical reactions can be difficult to scale, our preliminary results have shown robust helicene yields from 100 mg (74% yield) to 1.1 g (70% yield).

The synthesised materials will be characterised in solution and the solid-state using advanced characterisation techniques that probe the photophysical and electronic properties (e.g. UV/vis, (magnetic) circular dichroism, cyclic voltammetry). The successful candidate will then fabricate molecular junctions using the most promising helicenes.




The position is available within the research group of Royal Society University Research Fellow Dr Jochen Brandt at the Department of Chemistry, part of the School of Physical and Chemical Sciences at Queen Mary University of London. The ideal candidate should have some experience in synthetic chemistry and be interested in exploring a highly interdisciplinary, collaborative, and dynamic field of scientific research. The position is available to applicants with “home fee status” ( ) holding or about to hold a Master’s degree in Chemistry (or equivalent). Interested applicants are encouraged to contact Dr Jochen Brandt by email (, describing their research interests and experience, including an up-to-date CV.

Application Method:

To apply for this studentship and for entry on to the Chemistry programme (Full Time) please follow the instructions detailed on the following webpage:

Supervisor Contact Details:

For informal enquiries about this position, please contact Dr Jochen Brandt


Application Method:

To apply for this studentship and for entry on to the PhD programme (Full Time) please follow the instructions detailed on the following webpage:

Further Guidance:

Deadline for applications: 31st of January 2024

SPCS Academics: Dr Jochen Brandt