Xray equipment

Chemical Synthesis

Synthesis lies at the heart of Chemistry. We are interested in new molecules and synthetic pathways. This research is vital to our programmes in Energy, Environment, Health and Security. Fundamentally it is the translation of the outcomes of underpinning studies that provide “first mover advantage” to all our research themes, and as importantly to our collaborators in other Departments and Schools.

Case Study, Bio-hybrid prosthetics (Steve Christie)

The Bio-Hybrid Prosthetics project is cross-disciplinary collaboration with research leaders in: additive manufacture from the Wolfson, and muscular skeletal systems/prosthetics from the School and Sport Exercise and Health Sciences. The industrial partner is Blatchford Clinical Services.

Our role was based on an investigative PhD programme (Looking at surfaces in stents and implants), and from this and working in partnership we a part of a consortium awarded a large EPSRC grant to characterise fundamental biochemical, cellular and biomechanical systems, and in doing so develop, design and eventually deliver the next generation of prosthetics.

Chemistry’s role is the study, design, formulation and synthesis of chemically modified surfaces to promote cell growth, in particular nerve and muscle. The ultimate aim is ambitious:

“to provide patients with control over their artificial limb.”

  • Traditional synthetic approaches in organic and inorganic preparative chemistry
  • Ab-initio modelling of synthetic pathways
  • Stereo-selective catalysis
  • Natural product synthesis
  • Heterocyclic synthesis
  • Crystal Engineering
  • Macrocyclic synthesis


Specialist synthetic facilities

  • Hydrothermal synthesis
  • High Temperature and / or High Pressure synthetic capability
  • Inert atmosphere systems
  • Flow reactors
  • Micro-wave reactors


JEOL ECS-400 was installed into a newly refurbished lab in 2013 to provide an advanced NMR service. The JEOL ECS-400 is mainly used to run 19F and 13C{19F} measurements, 1H and 19F diffusion separation, and is available to run proton, carbon, DEPT, 31P, COSY, TOCSY, HMQC, HMBC, NOESY, variable temperature, nOe, selective shaped-pulse experiments, and ‘unusual’ nuclei. All of which are available in full automation.

Our Bruker Avance Ultra-Shield 400 runs 24-7 under full automation with a 5mm auto-tune and matching BBO z-gradients probe as default, with a dual-1H-13C and 5mm BBO options available. The experimental menu also includes: DEPT, 19F, 31P, COSY, TOCSY, HMQC, HMBC, NOESY, T1, variable temperature, homo-nuclear decoupling, nOe, selective experiments (sel-HMBC), inadequate, adequate, Het-Loc Driven-Equilibrium, and ‘unusual’ nuclei.

We also run a Bruker Avance 500, Solid-State NMR spectrometer with 100W and 500W amplifiers for the proton and X channel. We have a Bruker 2.5mm BBO MAS probe, a Bruker 4mm BBO MAS probe and a 5mm high-resolution BBO probe. Materials chemists request 13C CP-MAS, 29Si-CP-MAS, 2H, 31P, 77Se and 125Te, with pharmaceutical suspensions being recorded using home-made glass inserts and a variety of liquids and solids NMR methods.

Other specialist expertise includes SoPs, and the expertise to handle include potentially energetic and explosive materials as well as radiochemcial samples.


Our X-ray characterisation suite includes:

A Bruker APEXII single crystal diffractometer, operating at low temperature (150K)
A Rigaku AFC7 four circle single crystal diffractometer
A Bruker D8 powder diffractometer with Anton Parr HTK 1200 furnace attachment
A Philips Xpert powder diffractometer