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Modelling aerosols in an acoustic trap

   Department of Physics

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  Dr Anton Souslov  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Acoustic levitation involves using sound from a speaker (or transducer) to float particles. These particles are suspended mid-air and do not touch the walls, so that levitation could become an essential platform for experimentally observing and analysing aerosols. However, the mechanics of emergent many-particle structures inside of an acoustic trap has only recently begun to be explored. In this project, you will use a combination of numerical modelling of the acoustic field and fundamental theoretical tools to understand the forces inside of a trap that cause the particles to aggregate and move. You will then connect the emergent structures in an acoustic trap to naturally occurring aerosols and model how to make comparisons between these two different environments.

This project is part of the Centre for Doctoral training in Aerosol Science (CAS), now recruiting to our 4-year PhD programme for 2020 entry. Expertise in aerosol science is important in a broad range of disciplines spanning drug delivery to the lungs to the transmission of disease, climate change to combustion science, routes to novel materials to consumer and agricultural products. Our 4-year PhD will equip you to work in this exciting area of multidisciplinary science, collaborating with researchers across the physical, environmental and health sciences, and engineering.

We welcome applications from candidates who aspire to work in a multidisciplinary field and who have an undergraduate background in any of the following areas: chemistry, physics, biological sciences, life and medical sciences, mathematics and computer science, chemical and mechanical engineering, pharmaceutical and environmental sciences.

About CAS:

CAS brings together a multi-disciplinary team of academics from 7 UK universities (Bristol, Bath, Cambridge, Hertfordshire, Imperial, Leeds and Manchester) spanning the physical, environmental and health sciences, and engineering.

Working with industrial and public-sector partners in the areas of healthcare, materials science, energy and transport, environment, consumer products and agrochemicals, we aim to tackle some of the most challenging problems in aerosol science.

Programme Details:

Our graduates will become agile experts, able to work at the boundaries between the conventional disciplines where aerosols play a role.

EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Aerosol Science:

You will begin your PhD at the CAS hub at the University of Bristol, with the academic team providing comprehensive training in the core physical science of aerosols, research methods, and in professionalism and translation of research. You will then have the opportunity to build networks across the 7 universities, undertaking a short project at either your home institution or another partnering institution. These training elements will equip you for your PhD research in years 2-4.

Throughout your PhD, you will be supported by a mentoring team of two academic supervisors and an industrial partner, who will host you for a placement in Year 2 or 3. You will benefit from the diverse backgrounds of your peers, with training in year 1 using team-based learning. Cooperative learning groups in subsequent years will continue to provide opportunities for peer-to-peer learning and support.

Enquiries and Applications:

Informal enquiries are welcomed and we recommend that you discuss your interest in the project with the lead supervisor before applying. Contact Dr Anton Souslov on email address [Email Address Removed].

Enquiries about the programme or the selection process should be addressed to the CAS Administrator on email address [Email Address Removed] or by telephone on +44 (0)117 92 88681.

Formal applications should be submitted to CAS on their online application form

A recruitment and assessment day will be held in Bristol in February 2020. Applications received after the deadline of 3 February 2020 will be considered subject to the remaining availability of studentships.

For further information on the application process and FAQs, see

Funding Notes

CAS funding is for up to 4 years and is open to UK and EU applicants who have been ordinarily resident in the UK since September 2017.

A studentship will include UK/EU tuition fees, maintenance at the UKRI Doctoral Stipend rate (£15,009 in 2019/20, increased annually in line with the GDP inflator) and an allowance for research expenses, training and conference attendance.


1. M.X. Lim, A. Souslov, V. Vitelli, H.M. Jaeger. Cluster formation by acoustic forces and active fluctuations in levitated granular matter. Nature Physics 15, 460 (2019); B. Drinkwater. An ultrasonic shake-up. ibid.
2. T. Fushimi, T.L. Hill, A. Marzo, B.W. Drinkwater. Nonlinear trapping
stiffness of mid-air single-axis acoustic levitators. Appl. Phys. Lett. 113, 034102 (2018).

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