The PCCP program aims to integrate Master students within academic and industrial fields of fundamental physical chemistry. Various aspects are concerned: study of matter and its transformations, analysis and control of physical and chemical processes, light-matter interactions and spectroscopy techniques, modelling of physical and chemical processes from molecular to macroscopic scale. Applications cover scientific fields ranging from nanotechnologies, photonics, optoelectronics and organic electronics, to environmental sensors and detection systems.
The PCCP Master is supported by high-level educational and research partners, represented by the consortium of universities engaged in the program. Students follow their courses within a challenging, international environment. Annual summer schools, organized by the consortium partners, complete the students’ training by offering a focus on several topics relative to PCCP.
The first year of the Master degree is focused on the fundamental aspects of Physical Chemistry (thermodynamics, quantum chemistry, spectroscopy and numerical tools). International aspects of the program are introduced progressively during the first year, with some courses taught in English. A remote research project is also programmed to promote collaboration between students of the partner universities within the context of international scientific project management.
The second year is dedicated to specialized topics (advanced spectroscopy and imaging, photonics, computational chemistry, environmental sciences). All courses are taught in English and international mobility is mandatory (at least during the second semester for the Master thesis work), thus strengthening the international dimension of the degree. Numerous mutualized lectures are carried out featuring high-level, local research activity. Practical aspects are emphasized to favor the future integration of the student within the working world.
Master students following the specific UBx-USFQ double degree program spend between five and nine months in Quito (Ecuador) to complete the Master thesis. During this period, assistant professor positions at the USFQ are available for Master students of the program.
Year 1: Courses are in French, except when international students are attending.
Year 2: Courses are in English.
After graduation, students are fully prepared to pursue doctoral studies and a career in research. They may also work as scientists or R&D engineers within the industrial field.
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Pursuing a research degree at the School of Chemistry could be one of the best experiences of your life.
In addition to gaining research skills, making friends, meeting eminent researchers and being part of the research community, a research degree will help you to develop invaluable transferable skills which you can apply to academic life or a variety of professions outside of academia.
The Chemistry/Biology Interface
This is a broad area, with particular strengths in the areas of protein structure and function, mechanistic enzymology, proteomics, peptide and protein synthesis, protein folding, recombinant and synthetic DNA methodology, biologically targeted synthesis and the application of high throughput and combinatorial approaches. We also focus on biophysical chemistry, the development and application of physicochemical techniques to biological systems. This includes mass spectrometry, advanced spectroscopy and microscopy, as applied to proteins, enzymes, DNA, membranes and biosensors.
Experimental & Theoretical Chemical Physics
This is the fundamental study of molecular properties and processes. Areas of expertise include probing molecular structure in the gas phase, clusters and nanoparticles, the development and application of physicochemical techniques such as mass spectoscropy to molecular systems and the EaStCHEM surface science group, who study complex molecules on surfaces, probing the structure property-relationships employed in heterogeneous catalysis. A major feature is in Silico Scotland, a world-class research computing facility.
This research area encompasses the synthesis and characterisation of organic and inorganic compounds, including those with application in homogeneous catalysis, nanotechnology, coordination chemistry, ligand design and supramolecular chemistry, asymmetric catalysis, heterocyclic chemistry and the development of synthetic methods and strategies leading to the synthesis of biologically important molecules (including drug discovery). The development of innovative synthetic and characterisation methodologies (particularly in structural chemistry) is a key feature, and we specialise in structural chemistry at extremely high pressures.
The EaStCHEM Materials group is one of the largest in the UK. Areas of strength include the design, synthesis and characterisation of functional (for example magnetic, superconducting and electronic) materials; strongly correlated electronic materials, battery and fuel cell materials and devices, porous solids, fundamental and applied electrochemistry polymer microarray technologies and technique development for materials and nanomaterials analysis.
Students attend regular research talks, visiting speaker symposia, an annual residential meeting in the Scottish Highlands, and lecture courses on specialised techniques and safety. Students are encouraged to participate in transferable skills and computing courses, public awareness of science activities, undergraduate teaching and to represent the School at national and international conferences.
Our facilities are among the best in the world, offering an outstanding range of capabilities. You’ll be working in recently refurbished laboratories that meet the highest possible standards, packed with state-of-the-art equipment for both analysis and synthesis.
For NMR in the solution and solid state, we have 10 spectrometers at field strengths from 200-800 MHz; mass spectrometry utilises EI, ESI, APCI, MALDI and FAB instrumentation, including LC and GC interfaces. New combinatorial chemistry laboratories, equipped with a modern fermentation unit, are available. We have excellent facilities for the synthesis and characterisation of bio-molecules, including advanced mass spectrometry and NMR stopped-flow spectrometers, EPR, HPLC, FPLC, AA.
World-class facilities are available for small molecule and macromolecular X-ray diffraction, utilising both single crystal and powder methods. Application of diffraction methods at high pressures is a particular strength, and we enjoy strong links to central facilities for neutron, muon and synchrotron science in the UK and further afield. We are one of the world's leading centres for gas-phase electron diffraction.
Also available are instruments for magnetic and electronic characterisation of materials (SQUID), electron microscopy (SEM, TEM), force-probe microscopy, high-resolution FTRaman and FT-IR, XPS and thermal analysis. We have also recently installed a new 1,000- tonne pressure chamber, to be used for the synthesis of materials at high pressures and temperatures. Fluorescence spectroscopy and microscopy instruments are available within the COSMIC Centre. Dedicated computational infrastructure is available, and we benefit from close links with the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre.