Discovery, Design, Applications and Manufacture of Bespoke Green Nanomaterials
Inorganic nanomaterials are widely used in e.g. healthcare, electronics and energy sectors (worth several billion $), but their manufacturing is highly wasteful and hence unsustainable. Harnessing this biological approach to sophisticated nanomaterials has exciting prospects for addressing the issues highlighted above for current manufacturing of nanomaterials because this strategy encompasses most of the twelve principles of green chemistry. Biological and bioinspired routes feature as emerging solutions that can be sustainable yet with the ability to produce high-value nanomaterials.
Bioinspiration has offered unprecedented capability to control properties of nano-materials at lab scale and potential to generate bespoke materials. This bioinspired method can control key attributes of nanomaterials, e.g. particle size, crystallinity and porosity. In most cases, these bioinspired processes takes a few minutes, operate at room temperature and in water. These features result in a one-step, mild route using non-hazardous chemicals, with substantial reductions in time and energy usage, yet enabling the synthesis of tailored materials for desired applications.
For bioinspired synthesis to make an impact on nanomaterials production and their commercial use, future research is required to precisely control nanomaterials properties, investigate their applications and develop scaled-up processing.
A PhD project can focus on a specific application and investigate the materials chemistry/synthesis, the performance in a selected application area or develop manufacturing technology. Depending on a candidate’s background and interests, the project can be tailored.
The candidate will enjoy a number of training programmes offered by the university and the department, which include communication skills, research ethics, research management, effective collaboration, etc. Depending on the focus of the research project, the candidate will gain significant experience in materials synthesis, characterisation and evaluation. Sheffield has excellent materials characterisation facilities and the candidate will be trained on these as relevant. The group has a strong collaboration network with academics (nationally and internationally) and industry, and the candidate will be exposed to these partners as suitable.
The materials you will be developing and manufacturing fine applications in a wide applications, e.g. water treatment, drug delivery, catalysis, cosmetics, etc. This opens up a range of employment avenues in companies designing, manufacturing or using these materials such as oil and gas, bioprocessing, household products, pharmaceuticals, automotive, etc.
The candidates will receive formal technical training within the research group. They will be mentored by a senior member of the research group. Regular supervision will take place via weekly individual and monthly group meetings. As appropriate, the candidate will be offered training on specific equipment/ facility.
For further information on the group’s activities, members and current research, visit the Green Nanomaterials Research Group at www.svplab.com.
A suitable candidate should have a first class degree and a strong background in chemistry, materials science or chemical engineering, preferably with research exposure to nanomaterials.
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.