University of East Anglia Featured PhD Programmes
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Featured PhD Programmes
University College London Featured PhD Programmes

Evaluation of Uranium Retention in Geological Minerals at the Sub-Micron Level

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
  • Full or part time
    Dr L Natrajan
    Prof S Shaw
    Prof N Kaltsoyannis
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Uranium (U) is a key contaminant at many nuclear sites and its remediation remains a significant issue, as its speciation and mobility is complex. Characterising the interaction of U with geological materials in site-specific conditions and future disposal scenarios is challenging. This PhD will provide data on U-mineral speciation on a microscopic level using fluorescence spectroscopy and 3D optical imaging (one and two photon fluorescence, phosphorescence and lifetime image mapping) using the intrinsic fluorescence of uranium. The work will develop an in-depth understanding of U-mineral interactions over a range of
geochemical conditions and modelling will be used to translate results to the macroscopic scale.
The main objectives of this PhD are to: Characterise uranyl speciation and sorption and retention mechanisms in a range of minerals representative of those present at nuclear sites at the sub micron level using 3D fluorescence imaging. Use the results to derive thermodynamic parameters for the uranyl-mineral interactions using parallel factor analysis in MATLAB and DFT computational analysis Apply this information to the refinement and validation of current speciation databases.

Contact for further Information:

Dr Louise Natrajan [Email Address Removed]


group web pages:

Prof. Sam Shaw [Email Address Removed]

Prof. Nikolas Kaltsoyannis

Applicants are expected to hold, or about to obtain, a minimum upper second class undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in Chemistry or a closely related discipline. A Masters degree in a relevant subject is highly desirable and experience in f-element fluorescence spectroscopy is also desirable.

Funding Notes

This is a 3.5 year studentship funded by National Nuclear Laboratory and Nuclear Decomissioning Authority.

Restricted to UK/EU applicants with 3 years residency in the UK.

The following start dates are available for this programme:
January 2020
April 2020
July 2020
September 2020
Please specify your preferred start date on the application form.


1.Fluorescence spectroscopy and microscopy as tools for monitoring redox transformations of uranium in biological systems
D. L. Jones, M. B. Andrews, A. N. Swinburne, S. W. Botchway, A. D. Ward, J. R. Llyod, L. S. Natrajan, Chemical Science, 2015, 6, 5133-5138. DOI: 10.1039/C5SC00661A
2. U(VI) behaviour in hyperalkaline calcite systems
K. F. Smith, N. D. Bryan, A. N. Swinburne, P. Bots, S. Shaw, L. S. Natrajan, J. F. W. Mosselmans, F. R. Livens, K. Morris, Geochim Cosmochim Ac., 2014, 148, 343-359. DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2014.09.043
3. Redox and environmentally relevant aspects of actinide(IV) coordination chemistry
L.S. Natrajan, A. N. Swinburne, M. A. Andrews, S. Randall, S. L. Heath, Coord. Chem. Rev., 2014, 266, 171-193. DOI: 10.1016/j.ccr.2013.12.021
4. Imaging redox activity and Fe(II) at the microbe-mineral interface during Fe(III) reduction
H. F. Downie, J. P. Standerwick, L. Burgess, L. S. Natrajan, J. R. Lloyd, Research in Microbiology, 2018. DOI: 10.1016/j.resmic.2018.05.012

FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2020
All rights reserved.