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Flexible Polymer-Carbon Composites for Medical Sensing (Polymer Characterisation )

   School of Physics

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  Dr Patricia Scully  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Galway Ireland Analytical Chemistry Artificial Intelligence Biomechanics Biomedical Engineering Biophysics Electrical Engineering Internet Of Things Optical Physics Polymer Chemistry Polymers

About the Project

Four Year PhD Scholarship (2022-2025) in Laser Functionalisation of Flexible Polymer-Carbon Composites for Medical Sensing, specialising in Polymer Characterisation is available immediately from 1 December 2021. Funded by Science Foundation Ireland's Frontiers for the Future Project Award.  

New carbons, such as graphene, create novel electronics at an ultra-compact scale, replacing metals, silicon and semiconductors, but are disadvantaged by complex and toxic manufacturing methods, requiring process liquids/gases, clean rooms and controlled atmospheres. This project creates flexible polymers, for sensing spatial variations in temperature, moisture and strain for smart polymer skins or smart dressings are required for wound healing, or contaminated or damaged surfaces in structural health monitoring. A single step direct laser writing (DLW) process will structure the solid carbon material in 3D to tune the composite conductivity, functionalization and sensitivity to strain, temperature and moisture.

Applicants should demonstrate excellent performance at Undergraduate level and/or Masters level in a physical or engineering subject (Physics, Materials Science, Electrical or Mechanical Engineering) and be prepared to work in a multidisciplinary environment.

They will learn laser, optical and chemical analytical techniques for chemical and electrical characterisation of materials.

PhD Project PS2 specialises in Polymer Characterisation. The student will receive training on optical quality polymer material analysis and testing. They will perform chemical characterisation such as Raman, SEM, XPS, and electrical characterisation of DLW carbon structures. and evaluate the performance of structures and sensors. The student should have an interest in material and electronic analysis and instrumentation.

This research work will equip a student with skills in the following research areas:

Instrumentation: photonic materials for sensors and devices, ranging from functional materials, to laser inscribed photonic and conducting structures in transparent materials that affect their optical and electronic properties.

Materials: Advanced functional materials, and their optical, materials and chemical properties for structures and devices. Nano-electronics, materials characterisation and analytical methods.

Manufacturing & Process analytics: industrial/manufacturing processes using laser and photonic technologies for sensors and devices. Key enabling technologies, such as laser/additive/subtractive manufacturing.

Funding Notes

Funded by recently awarded Science Foundation Ireland's Frontiers for the Future project.
The PhD student will be funded for 48 months: €96K including fees €5,500 (EU fees) and annual stipend €18,500.
Outstanding International Candidates may be considered.


1. R.K.Biswas, R.K.Vijayaraghavan, P.McNally, G.M.O'Connor, P.Scully (2022).
Graphene growth kinetics for CO2 laser carbonization of polyimide, Materials Letters, Volume 307,2022, 131097,
​2. Biswas R.K., Farid N., O’Connor G. and Scully P. (2020). Improved conductivity of carbonized polyimide by CO2 laser graphitization. J. Mater. Chem. C, 2020,8, 4493-4501.
3. B.Dorin, P.Parkinson and P.Scully (2018). Three‑dimensional direct laser written graphitic electrical contacts to randomly distributed components. Applied Physics A, 124, (40), 340.
4. B. Dorin, P.Parkinson, P. Scully (2017). Direct laser write process for 3D conductive carbon circuits in polyimide. J. Mater. Chem. C, 5, 4923-4930
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