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Research Fellows Directory

Meera Mehta

Ms Meera Mehta

Research Fellow


University of Oxford

Research summary

My research interests expand from fundamental inorganic chemistry to the preparation of bulk materials for a specific application. During my graduate studies, I received an exceptional education in main group catalysis. We worked on the preparation of highly reactive and charged phosphorus cations and investigated the nature of bonding within these molecules, as well as their catalytic activity. These main-group systems were found to be highly active in affecting catalysts that is traditional only explored with transition metal-based systems.

The successes I experienced during my graduate work inspired me to study the use of alternative pnictogen (nitrogen, phosphorus, arsenic, antimony, or bismuth)-containing reagents for the synthesis of novel clusters, nanoparticles and structured solids. Metal pnictides can be found in fumigants, pesticides, flares, and semiconductors. However, disadvantages of the traditional methods employed for the synthesis of these materials include high energy input, variable product purity, and the requirement for toxic precursors and high-temperature containment vessels. Moreover, our ability to access well defined nanoscale materials or mesostructured solids is still significantly limited.

We are interested in exploring the reactivity of pnictogen-containing cyanate anions, PnCO- (Pn = P-Bi) with transition and post-transition metal salts. These cyanate salts have been reported to decarbonylate and act as a source of monoanionic pnictogen atoms. We propose to exploit this reactivity in the presence of metal salts to afford metal/pnictogen molecules, clusters, and materials. The simplicity of this approach, opens the door to the synthesis of mixed pnictides species, GaAsXPy, which are of enormous industrial interest. We also propose to perform these reactions in the presence of commercially available surfactant templating reagents to establish well-defined solid structures. This synthetic method is highly tunable and can be performed at low temperatures.

Interests and expertise (Subject groups)

Grants awarded

Nanostructured molecular clusters and solids from heavier group 15 cyanate analogues

Scheme: Newton International Fellowships

Dates: Jan 2018 - Dec 2019

Value: £99,000