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Aerosol assisted chemical vapour deposition (AACVD) of 2D transition metal dichalcogenides for aqueous pollutant degradation

   College of Engineering and Physical Sciences

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  Dr S D Worrall, Dr Vesna Najdanovic  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The treatment of polluted water is becoming increasingly urgent as concerns about water quality and water scarcity become more and more prevalent1. As a result catalytic degradation of water borne pollutants is a research area attracting a significant amount of interest, as part of our fight to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal to provide clear water to all2, and many different materials have been investigated as potentially suitable catalysts3.

Two dimensional (2D), transition metal dichalcogenides have been investigated as catalysts for various environmentally relevant reactions including hydrogen generation, pollutant degradation etc. and show significant promise4. The issue of how best to synthesise these materials in a form that is effective for catalysing these reactions is a difficult one, however one method that offers many advantages is aerosol assisted chemical vapour deposition (AACVD).5 The advantage that the AACVD method brings to bear is that it naturally yields the materials as thin, high surface area coatings on glass supports.5 The high surface area is obviously attractive for catalytic applications, whilst the high temperature stability and transparency of the glass supports mean that they can be easily integrated into thermal and photo catalytic operations.

AACVD has been utilised successfully to produce 2D transition metal disulphides5 but to date the more exotic 2D transition metal diselenides and ditellurides have proved elusive. Preliminary data indicates that the synthesis of 2D molybdenum diselenide has been achieved but more investigations need to be performed in order to obtain a high quality material and to expand this method still further.

As already stated AACVD requires substrates with high thermal stability which usually results in the use of borosilicate glass6.However alternative applications for these materials could be realised if supports such as conductive glasses (e.g. InSnO) were utilised as substrates which is why this project also proposes to investigate this possibility. A conductive glass substrate for would enable, for example, electro catalytic reactions to be investigated.

The research objectives of this project are to:

  1. Utilise the established nanomaterial synthesis technique of AACVD to synthesise 2D transition metal diselenides and ditellurides for the first time.
  2. Investigate the use of non-traditional substrates for the AACVD process.
  3. Assess the performance of the materials synthesised by the AACVD process in the catalytic degradation of aqueous pollutants.

Person Specification

The successful applicant should have been awarded, or expect to achieve, a Masters degree in a relevant subject with a 60% or higher weighted average, and/or a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (or an equivalent qualification from an overseas institution) in chemistry, materials science, or a related discipline. Preferred skill requirements include knowledge/experience of inorganic materials, chemical vapour deposition and electrochemistry. Basic skills in synthetic and analytical chemistry required.

Submitting an application

As part of the application, you will need to supply:

  • A copy of your current CV
  • Copies of your academic qualifications for your Bachelor degree, and Masters degree; this should include both certificates and transcripts, and must be translated in to English
  • A research proposal statement*
  • Two academic references
  • Proof of your English Language proficiency

Details of how to submit your application, and the necessary supporting documents can be found here

The application must be accompanied by a “research proposal” statement. An original proposal is not required as the initial scope of the project has been defined, candidates should take this opportunity to detail how their knowledge and experience will benefit the project and should also be accompanied by a brief review of relevant research literature.

Please include the supervisor name, project title, and project reference in your application.

Funding Notes

There is no financial support available from Aston University for this position. Applicants should either be confident they can cover the costs from their own resources or be applying for an external scholarship. As part of the application you will be required to confirm that you have applied for, or secured, this additional funding.


1) WWAP. 2017. The United Nations World Water Development Report 2017: Wastewater, the untapped resource. United Nations World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP). Paris, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
3) 10.1021/cr2000543
4) 10.1039/C8TA02287A
5) 10.1021/acs.chemmater.6b05271
6) 10.1039/c5cs00651a
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