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Developing new analytical technology for the rapid identification and quantification of micro/ nano plastics

Department of Chemistry

About the Project

Plastics are ubiquitous and there is an urgent need to better manage their life cycle from production to environmental fate. Recent interest has focussed on very small (micro and nano) plastics, including their detection in and potential deleterious impact on the environment. To better understand the life cycle of polymer materials from their creation through, use, disposal, and breakdown a team of researchers supporting by collaborators from within industry, environmental agency and charities are creating a research centre. The research group of Platrax (Link below) will develop new materials, analytical techniques, and models to characterise and track plastic particles in the environment as well as study the effect of materials on organisms. 

This research project is one of five starting in Oct 2021, the cohort will work together as a diverse and interdisciplinary team. Students in the group will participate in research with a direct real-world impact through collaboration with industrial and environmental partners. Through regular group meetings, they will also get a broad multidisciplinary understanding of this critical research area, the chance to work on cutting edge research across five different labs.    

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014). In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College to help you succeed in your research and future career.

Find out more at:

Full Project Detail:

Existing methods and technologies for studying these particles are inadequate to answer a wide range of pressing questions including: How do they form? How are they dispersed through the environment? What are their concentrations in the environment? Researchers across the university are combining their expertise to address the lack of data, methods and methodologies to better understand the problem facing humanity.

The aim of the project is to develop new chemical and material sensors alongside the protocols for sampling marine environments. This will lead to new microfluidic chips with electrochemical and optical sensors combined into a 3D printed Analytical Laboratory. The project will use additive manufacturing, microfluidics, electrochemical and optical sensors, alongside chemical analysis and treatment of materials. The applicant should have a degree or MSc equivalent within chemistry or materials science.

Entry requirements:

Applicants for this project should have at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in a quantitative science or engineering subject. Experience in electrochemistry, additive manufacturing, microfluidics or polymer science would be preferred.

All applications should be made online at Under programme name, select Chemistry

Please quote reference number: MP/CM-CDT/2021

Funding Notes

The studentship is for 3 years and provides a tax-free stipend of £15,285 per annum for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK rate. International (including EU) students may apply however the total value of the studentship will cover the International Tuition Fee Only.

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