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Development Photothermal Nanoparticles for Sensitive Lateral Flow Assay based on for Bacteria Detection

Centre for Doctoral Training in Molecular Modelling and Material Science, UCL

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Prof Nguyen T. K. Thanh No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Recently, lateral flow assays (LFA) are popular diagnostic test owing to their simplicity, rapidity, portability and low cost. However, LFAs often suffer from low sensitivity of detection, pointing out the need to improve their sensitivity. Hence, the project aims to construct and characterize light-absorbing nanomaterials for using with thermal contrast lateral flow test in bacteria detection. A variety of compositions, shapes and sizes of nanomaterials will be tested with the thermal contrast platform and determine the limit of detection.
Once photothermal nanoparticles were covalently conjugated, they will be tested with thermal contrast lateral flow platform and pathogen, such as Salmonella typhimurium.
Various characterization approaches are involed in the project. The photothermal nanomaterials will be morphologically characterized by various approaches including TEM, HRTEM, UV-Vis. Hydrodynamic size will be determined by DLS, whilst the crystallite size will be assessed by XRD. The SQUID will be used to measure magnetic properties and FRIR will be used to investigate chemical bonds. The others, consisting of NMR, Mass spec, XPS and TGA, will be applied to characterize the surface ligands.
The skills that are required during the project are composed of the chemical synthesis of photothermal nanoparticles, characterisation as well as functionalization and biological conjugation. For the sensing device, it is important to be able to handle laser with the thermal contrast lateral flow strip and photothermal nanoparticles.

Prof Su Xiaodi (at IMRE, ASTAR) has long standing experience in nanosensor development for fundamental research and medical diagnosis. In this project, the student will receive training from Prof Su’s lab on biofunctionalization and diagnostic test development targeting to diagnostic and prognostic markers and from Dr Ye’s lab on EELS mapping of surface plasmon and demonstration of photothermal effect

Funding Notes

Due to large number of applications, only outstanding students with national awards and research publications are short-listed and may be contacted.


Please email Prof Thanh ( with project title in the subject of your email to send your CV with detailed marks of all University courses taken immediately if you are interested.
Due to large number of applicants only short listed students will be contacted.
See more on Prof Thanh research at
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