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Development of catalytic metal-free cross-dehydrogenative couplings

  • School: School of Science and Technology
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Part-time
  • Starting: 2023
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Fully-funded


NTU's Fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme 2023

Project ID: S&T30

There is a great need for new chemical compounds and methods for their synthesis. The formation of new bonds is a fundamental approach to new chemicals. The development of bond forming reactions has attracted the attention. The most significant progress in this field has been made through the development of various types of coupling reactions. Extensive studies of C-H bond activation processes catalysed by transition metals have greatly improved our understanding of the functionalization of inert bonds. It has become apparent that the direct formation of carbon-carbon and carbon-heteroatom bonds via C-H bond activation has great potential for chemical synthesis. Numerous efforts have been made to develop a cross-dehydrogenation compound (CDC) that eliminates the need for pre-functionalization of both coupling partners and results in the direct formation of C-C and carbon-heteroatom bonds. This type of oxidative process makes chemical reactions extremely efficient in terms of atom-economy, time and environmental resources, which is very much in line with the principles of green chemistry. CDC is a broad area of research. The focus is on developing transition metal-free reactions and reactions which avoid the usage of any metal.

During the last years, my group has been intensively engaged in the development of new transformations under metal-free conditions. Our continuing efforts have been focused on the application of hypervalent iodine reagents. We have developed different methods for the formation of carbon-nitrogen and carbon-carbon bonds in the synthesis of various products.

Many developed reactions are based on the use of stoichiometric amounts of hypervalent iodine reagents, which leads to the formation of a by-product with a relatively high molecular weight. The development of catalytic transformations would be a great advantage. Research is therefore needed to develop new oxidation processes for general reaction conditions with broad applications. Many developed metal-free methods using hypervalent iodine reagents allow regioselective formation of the desired products, but enantioselective product synthesis has not yet been achieved. The development of enantioselective CDC is important and will have a major impact on the field of CDC. The development of new catalytic systems using low molecular weight catalysts will indeed have advantages for the development of sustainable methods and will extend the application of green chemistry principles.

The project was designed by Dr. Andrey Antonchick, who has extensive experience in organic synthesis, catalysis, and chemical biology.

Supervisory Team:

I joined NTU in 2020 and I do not have any PhD students under my supervision at NTU. I have demonstrated the top research outputs in terms of quality and quantity in the SST ( So far 8 PhD students have graduated under my supervision. I have published 110 peer-reviewed articles, 75 as independent researcher since 2011.

Sum of the Times Cited: >8000; Average Citations per Item: >70; H-index: 46 (Web of Science)

Dr Cross published 18 peer-reviewed articles. Sum of the Times Cited: >300; Average Citations per Item: >17; H-index: 10 (Web of Science2021)

Entry qualifications

For the eligibility criteria, visit our studentship application page.

How to apply

To make an application, please visit our studentship application page.

Fees and funding

This is part of NTU's 2023 fully-funded PhD Studentship Scheme.

Guidance and support

Application guidance can be found on our studentship application page.

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