This PhD project aims to establish chemical protocols for synthesising materials of desired specs using the bioinspired “green” synthesis. You will join the Green Nanomaterials Research Group (www.svplab.com) within the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Sheffield.
Background: Nanomaterial industry is worth a multi-billion pounds but current nanomaterials production methods are unsustainable and limited in attainable nanomaterials properties. Consequently, there is an urgent need to develop green methods for nanomaterials which can allow greater control over materials properties. We have developed bioinspired syntheses of complex nanomaterials such that they offer superior control over nanomaterials properties and are sustainable. However, due to a lack of understanding of the synthesis-structure-property relationship, we are unable to design commercialise desirable nanomaterials.
Objectives and Methodology: In order to design nanomaterials of desired specs, this project will focus on silica, titania and zinc oxide as the technologically important nanomaterials, which are the top three most produced nanomaterials with diverse applications. You will use statistical design of experiments to map the effects of the synthesis conditions on the properties of the nanomaterials. You will use a range of materials characterisation techniques such as spectroscopy, microscopy and diffraction to investigate materials properties. These data will help build empirical models and provide mechanistic understanding and predictability. Using inputs from our industry partners, towards the end of the project, you will apply the correlations developed in designing and synthesising commercially desired materials.
Research Environment: This PhD project is part of a larger EPSRC Fellowship, which includes post-doctoral researchers, another PhD student, a technician and several academic and industry collaborators that you will have the opportunity to collaborate with.
This project is inherently multidisciplinary and you will receive training in many relevant techniques and transferable skills. You will contribute to lab meetings, outreach activities and the vibrant PhD communities across the University. The host department has a thriving environment within one of the UK’s top Faculties of Engineering with a vibrant research culture. The Green Nanomaterials Research Group is internationally leading in the design and green manufacturing of functional nanomaterials. The primary supervisor has received four Dedicated Outstanding Mentor and SuperVisionary awards, recognising good all-round supervision and mentoring. You will participate in training on Professional Skills for Research Leaders, which includes areas such as management, science communication, supervision and scientific writing. There is a potential for visits to/placements with the academic and industry partners.
Candidate Specifications: The successful candidate will have a first class degree in chemistry with practical experience of research. Experience in materials chemistry (synthesis and/or characterisation) is desirable. An ability to apply mathematical techniques is essential. Specific knowledge of bioinspired synthesis, or design of experiments, although not required, will be beneficial.
If English is not your first language then you must have International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) certificate with an average of 6.5 or above and at least 6.0 in each component.
Funding: This position covers the UK/EU fees and stipend. Candidates from outside the EU should include, in their application, their plans to cover the difference in fees.