Precise monitoring of soil compositions is key to achieving sustainable farming practices and protecting the environment. Our goal is thus to develop highly selective and low-cost graphene-based sensors to detect a variety of small molecules and ions in soil. In this project, the student will characterise both theoretically and experimentally the selectivity of these sensors to socio-economically important plant nutrients: phosphate and nitrate. Graphene is already being exploited as a sensor material. Advantageously, graphene is highly versatile and can be altered in composition (through doping or defects) as well as structurally (from planar to 3D via laser ablation). Any alteration in composition and structure will alter the sensing properties of these graphene materials. In other words, graphene can be fine-tuned to sense specific small molecules or ions. This project will be a joint spectroscopic and computational study, co-supervised by Dr Adrien Chauvet (spectroscopy) and Dr Natalia Martsinovich (computational modelling). In Dr Chauvet’s group, the student will explore the electronic properties of various graphene surfaces using the latest time-resolved ultrafast spectroscopy equipment available in the Lord Porter Laser Laboratory. In Dr Martsinovich’s group, the student will then explore the theoretical affinity of these various graphene surfaces to small molecules and ions, such as phosphate. With this dual approach, the student will be able to correlate experimental and theoretical data to inform development (via existing collaboration) of new graphene sensors.
You should be an enthusiastic student that has or expects to receive a 1st class or 2.1 MChem degree or equivalent
EPSRC funded project, for more information please follow the below link: View Website