PhD project title and outline, including interdisciplinary dimension:
Next Generation Chiral Analysis for Ultrafast Science and Commercial Applications
Chirality is an inherent property of the molecular building blocks of life which are almost exclusively found with only one handedness. As opposite chiral molecules act very differently on living systems, the use of chirally pure compounds can result in significantly improved health and environmental outcomes. In particular, drugs are often chirally pure to improve the efficacy or safety of treatments, meaning that fast, sensitive analysis of chiral compounds is crucial for drug development.
Recently a new chiro-optical phenomenon has been discovered which is much more sensitive than current techniques for determining molecular chirality. This has recently been studied by Dr. Greenwood’s group in the School of Maths and Physics who have developed a fast and efficient method for measuring this phenomenon using patented technology. Given the importance of chiral chemical composition in pharmaceutical and other industries, the potential of this technology will be evaluated in collaboration with the School of Pharmacy and a local company, Camlin Technologies.
The core project activity will be undertaken in Queen’s Physics where the new chiral technology will be validated and optimised, while Pharmacy’s expertise will be exploited to quantify the project’s new analytical standards relative to current state-of-the-art. An integral part of the project, and the fellow’s training, will be conducted at Camlin to link the work at Queen’s to relevant market research and product development. The scientific applications of the technology will also be demonstrated through formative experiments studying transient chirality in chemical reactions at Bordeaux University.
The fellow will provide the synergy which binds these different strands of the project together – core (Physics), analytical validation (Pharmacy), product development (Camlin), and fundamental science (Bordeaux). This will provide a unique opportunity for a talented physical scientist to pursue internationally leading research while developing inter-disciplinary and industrial engineering skills.