A prestigious grant of £2m has been awarded
to Steve Liddle, a Professor of Inorganic Chemistry and a Royal Society
University Research Fellow to continue to develop his research at the frontier
of fundamental molecular uranium chemistry.
His research, which has already attracted
international attention, could lead to ultra-high
data storage and quantum computing, safer
nuclear fuels and reduce our reliance
on crude oil.
The Consolidator Grant (CoG) from the
European Research Council (ERC) is the
second ERC grant awarded to Professor Liddle. It will help in the
development of new compounds containing uranium-nitrogen triple bonds (nitrides) and uranium-metal
bonds, assessing intrinsic reactivity patterns towards small molecules such as
carbon monoxide, and delving into the magnetic properties in order to develop a
better understanding of actinide chemistry from an integrated experimental and
The ERC CoG scheme aims
to identify and support the very best and creative mid-career independent researchers
in Europe through five-year consolidated funding to pursue speculative and
potential of uranium
Professor Liddle has
also obtained several grants related to this work from the Engineering and
Physical Sciences Research Council and the Royal Society.
He said: “Uranium
suffers somewhat from negative PR; however there is great potential for
complexes of Uranium-238 (depleted uranium) to provide new catalysts, nuclear
waste separation technologies and provide useful applications for the stocks of
waste depleted uranium around the world. The project will also provide valuable
knowledge about Actinide chemistry, one of the least understood sections of the
Where could this research take
Uranium nitrides — further our understanding of
uranium chemical bonding and possibly provide a molecular route to uranium
nitride materials which could be safer nuclear fuels.
Carbon monoxide homologation — provides us with new
ways to make organic molecules from sustainable resources that could help
remove our reliance on crude oil.
Single molecule magnets — bring our knowledge of
actinide magnetism up to speed since very little is known and could be basis
for ultra-high data storage and quantum computing.
Metal-metal bonds — molecular models for bulk
metalloid phases and understanding structure-bonding-reactivity relationships.
Professor Liddle said: “This latest grant provides us
with the support to invest in spectroscopic equipment and most importantly
enables me to maintain the training pipeline of talented postdoc and PhD
scientists. It will help us target challenging but highly rewarding scientific
targets that will reveal much about the fundamental properties of the
Professor Liddle’s work
has already been highlighted in the scientific media such as Science, Nature
World, Chemical and Engineering News and Chemistry in
Australia. Professor Liddle also appears frequently on the School of
Chemistry’s Periodic Table of
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