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Design of light-responsive emulsions under ultrasonic radiation

   Department of Material Science and Metallurgy

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  Dr R.C. Evans  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship studying the design of light-responsive “Pickering” emulsions formed under ultrasonic radiation. The project will be run in collaboration between the University of Cambridge and the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source (https://www.isis.stfc.ac.uk/Pages/home.aspx).

Particle-stabilised (“Pickering”) emulsions are promising encapsulants with potential use in diverse commercial products across the pharmaceutical, food, healthcare and energy sectors. Light-responsive Pickering emulsions, which can be triggered to release their cargo on-demand using light, are an exciting emerging technology. However, these emulsions are tricky to design due to the complex relationship between the particle properties and emulsion formation and structure.

This interdisciplinary project aims to identify design rules for light-responsive Pickering emulsions by exploring the relationship between structure and response using small-angle neutron scattering (SANS). This will involve the synthesis of Pickering emulsions using ultrasound and further characterisation, along with the design of an experimental apparatus to enable in situ sonication and light irradiation during SANS measurements. This will be used to map structure-property characteristics, which enable on-demand control of emulsion stability with light, ultimately leading to new understanding that will help innovate design in this emerging class of materials. The project will provide the opportunity to use a wide range of characterisation techniques, including international neutron and X-ray facilities, optical microscopy and spectroscopy, rheology and contact angle tensiometry.

This is an exciting opportunity for applicants looking to bridge the gap between fundamental science and applied research. The project will be based in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, University of Cambridge for years 1 and 4 to undertake initial training and carry out the emulsion design. In years 2 and 3, the project will be based at the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source (for a period of at least one year) to enable the development of the sample environment and carry out key measurements with direct support from the ISIS staff. The successful candidate will gain experience working in two highly stimulating and collaborative research environments.

Applicants should have (or expect to be awarded) an upper 2nd or 1st class honours degree at the level of MChem, MPhys, MSci, MEng (or overseas equivalents) in a relevant science subject (Chemistry, Physics, Materials Science). Experience or enthusiasm for the practical design and testing of small equipment would be advantageous as this will be a key component of the project.

IMPORTANT: Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to first make an informal enquiry by email to Prof. Rachel Evans ([Email Address Removed]) or Dr Gregory Smith ([Email Address Removed]), before submitting a formal application to the University through the Postgraduate Application Portal (fee £75) at https://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/

Further information on the application process in general is available from Rosie Ward ([Email Address Removed]).

Funding Notes

The studentship is fully-funded (fees and maintenance) for eligible students who are liable for ‘home rate’ fees. EU and international students may also be considered for these awards, although they may be required to cover the difference in fee level between home and overseas rates.
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