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Development of Nanomaterial Coating and Stabilising Strategies


   Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

   Friday, December 31, 2021  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Supervisory Team:   Prof. Xunli Zhang (Engineering, 60%); Dr Eugen Stulz (Chemistry, 40%)

Project description

There are unmet needs to develop effective materials to absorb infra-red (IR) light, e.g., for IR signature management. With unique optoelectronic properties, nanoparticles especially in non-spherical shape have demonstrated to be spectral selective absorbers, where the electromagnetic absorption bands strongly depend on nanoparticles’ geometries. However, it is challenging to synthesise such nanoparticles with desired geometries and properties in a controllable and reproducible format, and formulate them into stable materials for large-scale production.

 This project aims to develop nanocomposite coatings (paints) incorporating silver nanorods (AgNRs) to selectively absorb IR electromagnetic bands. Chemistries will first be optimised for nanoparticle formation with controllable geometries. Encapsulation of the AgNRs to form stable nanoparticles with functional groups for suitable inclusion into polymers will then be established. Together with a parallel going PhD project, the formation of nanocomposite coatings in large-scale using continuous flow reactors will be developed and evaluated as IR blockers. This project will be conducted jointly by Engineering and Chemistry through an interdisciplinary approach drawing on diverse expertise and unique infrastructure available across disciplines.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Prof Xunli Zhang, Engineering, Email: , Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 5099, or Dr Eugen Stulz, Chemistry, Email: , Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 9369. Further information about the research groups can be found on https://www.southampton.ac.uk/engineering/about/staff/xz1f06.page; https://www.southampton.ac.uk/chemistry/about/staff/est.page 

Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least an upper UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent), in a relevant discipline (e.g., Chemistry, Materials Science, Chemical Engineering) are invited to apply. Research experience or a Master’s degree in a related area would be highly beneficial.

 Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 December 2021 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Funding: For UK students, Tuition Fees and a stipend of £15,609 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years.

How To Apply

Applications should be made online. Select programme type (Research), 2021/22, Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, next page select “PhD Engineering & Environment (Full time)”. In Section 2 of the application form you should insert the name of the supervisor Xunli Zhang

Applications should include:

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts to date

Apply online: https://www.southampton.ac.uk/courses/how-to-apply/postgraduate-applications.page

For further information please contact:


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