Active Colloids are nano and micron scale particles that can move autonomously within fluid environments, powered by surface chemical reactions. Each active colloid can be thought of as miniature self powered device, with the potential to capture, transport and release cargo. These colloids can enable a wide range of applications including drug delivery, transporting analytes within diagnostic devices, and environmental remediation. This PhD will focus on exploiting a recent advance in my research group that has made active colloids that change size in response to their local environment. This allows colloids to speed up and slow down, and change the rate of release of cargo molecules as they sense their surroundings. The aim of this PhD will be to develop possible applications for these new colloids. For example, acidity can be a signal for proximity to cancer cells, and so these colloids could be engineered to slow down at low pH and release their cargo to target drug release. Other possibilities include concentrating cargo in microfluidic devices for analysis, or neutralising harmful environmental chemicals.
This experimental PhD will benefit from being conducted in a research group with a leading international reputation in this field, and also involve collaboration with biological and medical researchers. The PhD will use the extensive facilities in my laboratory that allow active colloids to be synthesised, characterised and tested, as well as making full use of the many advanced characterisation tools available at the University. There will also be opportunities to learn about advanced image analysis techniques. This wide set of scientific skills will be attractive to industry, where knowledge of particle characterisation and synthesis is a highly sought after skill in pharmaceutical and cosmetics sectors.
The PhD will suit someone with a materials science or physical science background and an interest in developing new applications for an exciting new type of material.
Please see this link for information on how to apply: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/cbe/postgraduate/phd/how-apply. Please include the name of your proposed supervisor and the title of the PhD project within your application.
Applicants should have a 1st or 2.1 Honours Degree in Physics, Chemistry or a relevant Engineering discipline. If English is not your first language then you must have an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) average of 6.5 or above with at least 6.0 in each component, or equivalent. Please see this link for further information: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/postgraduate/phd/apply/english-language.