RSC Radiochemistry Group's 2015 Young Research Meeting
Gareth Law (CRR) and Sam Shaw (SEAES), Co-Directors of the STFC Env-Rad-Net, recently organised and sponsored the RSC Radiochemistry Group's 2015 Young Research Meeting.
In total, 57 early career scientists attended, representing 12 UK institutes. A wide range of environmental, medicinal, analytical, and fundamental radiochemistry was presented. Ten Manchester researchers (Nick Masters-Waage, Hannah Roberts, Alasdair Formanuik, Aruna Reddy, Hamza Al Qasmi, Pavle Mocilac, Vanessa Timmerman, Tim Kerry, Adam Sims, and Fabiola Guido Garcia) either from the School or co-supervised by CRR academics presented at the meeting. All presentations were excellent and at the end of the meeting the judging panel had a very hard time deciding who should be awarded 'RSC Radiochemistry Young Researcher of the Year' status. However, in the end the panel unanimously decided to give the award to Alasdair Formanuik of the Mills and Natrajan groups. Alasdair gave an excellent presentation on Low Oxidation State Thorium Chemistry, which described the physical properties of highly reactive thorium(III) complexes. He presented synthetic studies, supported by structural analysis, EPR spectroscopy, magnetism, theoretical calculations and future XAFS spectroscopic studies that will allow for the first time a meaningful comparison of the +3 and +4 oxidation states of thorium and uranium in similar ligand environments. Two runners up were also announced: Aruna Reddy of the Natrajan Group, and Franck Dal Molin of Tata Steel / Loughborough University. Aruna’s talk was on Sensing Uranyl(VI) Species Using Rare-Earth Upconversion Phosphors. Her work is aimed at utilising the upconverting properties of lanthanide doped nanophosphors to ratiometrically sense uranyl(VI) species by luminescence resonance energy transfer. The upconverting phosphors that were presented spectrally convert near infra-red light to visible light, whereby in the presence of a uranyl(VI) species of a given charge, the visible output of the upconverting phosphor is attenuated thereby reporting on concentration in a complex mixture of uranyl(VI) species in aqueous solution. Aruna also presented her preliminary work on fluorescence resonance energy transfer sensing of uranyl(VI) using a range of organic FRET dyes at low solution concentration. As a prize, Alasdair received the RSC bust of Marie Curie and an RSC award of £500 that will be used to help meet the costs of presenting his science at a major conference.