Airborne nanoparticles (<100nm) are the smallest fraction of particulate matter, which can penetrate deep into the lungs, and have more severe health impacts than their larger counterparts. Nanoparticles are often measured in terms of their particle number concentration or size distribution , but their adverse effects on public health are better correlated with their lung deposited surface area (LDSA) dose. There can however be a large variation between measurements of LDSA performed by different instruments and further research is required including the evaluation of the uncertainty of measurements.
This research will focus on the measuring LDSA of airborne nanoparticles in a more robust manner. Through monitoring in real-world situations using commercially-available instruments and low-cost sensors, and modelling, this research will develop a framework to estimate the LSDA of nanoparticles under varied environmental conditions, and fully defining the uncertainty of these measurements.
The expected outputs include a LSDA framework in the form of a tool and 3-4 open-access research publications to build a better understanding of airborne nanoparticle doses in various outdoor and indoor environments. The results of the research are also expected to contribute to the European standardisation committee (CEN TC 264/WG 32) that is developing a Technical Specification for determining the LDSA in ambient air using a diffusion charger-based aerosol monitor.
The 4-year EPSRC i-CASE PhD project will commence on April 2023 and will be supervised by Professor Prashant Kumar, who is a founding Director of the Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) and co-supervised by Dr Andrew Brown (NPL). The candidate will have the opportunity to closely work with the diverse and multidisciplinary GCARE team and collaborate with various ongoing projects and beyond. They will work with the NPL and relevant GCARE collaborators, and will be an active member of the Guildford Living Lab.
Open to UK students starting in October 2023.
You will need to meet the minimum entry requirements for our PhD programme.
GCARE has a multidisciplinary team where researchers from all backgrounds are most welcome. This project will be suitable for a student with a degree in science (atmospheric, physics, chemistry, mathematics, geoscience or material Science), engineering (environmental, civil, mechanical, chemical, computer), or a closely related environmental/physical science discipline. Some experience of physicochemical characterisation of particles and data analysis would be extremely useful.
How to apply
The interested candidates are requested to send their CV directly to Professor Prashant Kumar ([Email Address Removed]). Upon his confirmation, you are welcome to make a formal application through the Civil and Environmental Engineering PhD programme page.
The candidates are encouraged to send their CVs, including any publications, as early as they can to Professor Kumar. Applications will be regularly assessed to interview candidates on a first-come, first-serve basis.