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Molecular Transport through Angstrom scale confinement


Department of Physics and Astronomy

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Dr R Boya Applications accepted all year round Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Housed within the world-leading condensed matter physics group and National Graphene Institute, our group focuses on 2D materials and angstrom scale capillaries. We are primarily experimental group with research interests on 2D materials, novel methods of making ultimately thin fluid channels, membranes for molecular, gas and ion separation.

Biological ion channels show a huge diversity of functionalities: with ultra-selectivity, gating, mechano-sensitive responses, pumps, etc., but on the artificial side, we are still very far from approaching this richness. The key reason is that such “exotic” behaviours of biological systems harvest the unique and non-universal properties of molecular transport beyond continuum. Artificial channels of similar dimensions would offer many opportunities in various fields (desalination, energy storage, isotope separation, to name but a few). Despite intensive efforts over several decades, with continuous improvements in nanolithography and growth techniques, such small channels have remained a distant goal with devices rarely approaching the true nanoscale, leaving aside angstrom dimensions.

Recently, our group has come up with a novel strategy for creating angstrom-scale capillaries/slits1 by removing a small number of atomic planes from van der Waals crystals, leaving behind a void that can be used as a capillary with a height of ~6.7 Å. The project builds on our existing expertise of design and architecture of angstrom capillaries made from 2D materials. The PhD project will involve studying molecular transport including biomolecules, such as neurotransmitters, DNA, proteins through the capillaries.

Further details about the research in group: https://radhaboya.weebly.com

Training and research environment
Research will be experimental and based in Department of Physics & Astronomy, Schuster Building and National Graphene Institute. The student will be exposed to device fabrication technology for making variety of 2D-atomic crystals and 2D-capillaries. Some aspect of the work might also involve biomolecule sequencing using electrical measurements.

Qualifications applicants should have/expect to receive
The successful candidate will have or expect to obtain a first or upper second class degree or equivalent (e.g. MChem, MPhys, MSci, MEng) in Physical sciences, Chemical Sciences, Materials, Natural sciences or Chemical Engineering. A minimum of a 2i class UK Masters honours degree or international equivalent is required or a first degree with an additional Master’s degree or international equivalent. Atleast one English language test is a must. IELTS overall score of 6.5 with no less than 5.5 in each sub-test TOEFL iBT overall score of 90 with no less than 22 in each sub-test (further details here: https://www.manchester.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-research/programmes/list/05490/phd-condensed-matter-physics/#course-profile )

Those with experimental skills and enthusiasm for research and innovation are encouraged to apply. Programming skills such as Matlab, labview are desirable.

Contact for further information
[Email Address Removed] or drop in to Room 3A.07, Schuster Building on Manchester campus.

Main Supervisor: Dr Radha Boya

How to apply
Informal enquiry should be directed to Dr Radha Boya with CV. Please specify why you would like to particularly apply for this position, and how you would be suitable. Please send only one PDF file which has the all the relevant information, and keep the file size small to avoid bouncing from the server.

Funding Notes

The project is funded for 3.5 years. The annual stipend is expected to be £15,009. The funding is limited to UK/EU applicants meeting UK residence criteria. Self-funded international applicants will also be considered.
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