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Nanoscale confinement of photons, electrons and magnetism for future healthcare applications

   Department of Physics

About the Project

The University of Bath is inviting applications for the following PhD project commencing in October 2023.

Overview of the Research:

The World Health Organization has identified antibiotic resistance as one of the top 10 threats to Humankind. Recently, help started emerging from a surprising direction – complex nanoparticles with therapeutic properties, rooted in their chirality. Chirality (i.e. mirror asymmetry) is at the heart of the building blocks of life – DNA, amino acids, sugars, proteins, etc. Using the rules of self-assembly, chiral nanoparticles (metals, semiconductors and dielectrics) can mimic life-related processes and even interface with biological mechanisms – e.g. triggering the immune system or killing viruses using light commands. 

This PhD project focusses on making such nanoparticles and on characterising their key property – chirality – by means of novel physical effects that we discovered. This is an emerging research field rich in possibilities, as demonstrated by several scientific prizes that our team members recently received (including the PhD students). We aim to discover new materials, new pathways for self-assembly and novel physical effects that involve the interaction of chirality and light at the nanoscale.  

This project will be an international and interdisciplinary collaboration with a top USA lab – Prof Nicholas Kotov from Michigan University will co-supervise the project. The student will be based in Bath, where they will help develop novel photonic methods to characterise nanoparticles in our state-of-the-art laser labs. The student will build and operate advanced experimental setups and there is a possibility to get involved in robotising them. The nanoparticles themselves will be prepared in Kotov’s lab; there is a possibility for the PhD student to visit there and to get involved in the preparation. Overall, we expect this PhD project to have tremendous benefits for future, advanced nano-materials and for establishing their novel therapeutic properties.

Project keywords: photonics, plasmonics, nanophotonics, optics, chirality, laser, spectroscopy, nonlinear, magnetism, nanoscience, nanotechnology, metamaterials, microscopy.

Candidate Requirements:

Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a First Class or good Upper Second Class UK Honours degree (or the equivalent) in a relevant subject. A master’s level qualification would also be advantageous.

Non-UK applicants must meet our English language entry requirement.

Enquiries and Applications:

Informal enquiries are encouraged and should be directed to Prof Ventsislav Valev on email address .

Formal applications should be submitted via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Physics.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found on our website.

Note: Applications may close earlier than the advertised deadline if a suitable candidate is found. We therefore recommend that you contact the lead supervisor prior to applying and submit your formal application as early as possible.

Funding Eligibility:

To be eligible for funding, you must qualify as a Home student. The eligibility criteria for Home fee status are detailed and too complex to be summarised here in full; however, as a general guide, the following applicants will normally qualify subject to meeting residency requirements: UK and Irish nationals (living in the UK or EEA/Switzerland), those with Indefinite Leave to Remain and EU nationals with pre-settled or settled status in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme. This is not intended to be an exhaustive list. Additional information may be found on our fee status guidance webpage, on the GOV.UK website and on the UKCISA website.

Exceptional Overseas students (e.g. with a UK Master’s Distinction or international equivalent and relevant research experience), who are interested in this project, should contact the lead supervisor in the first instance to discuss the possibility of applying for supplementary funding.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion:

We value a diverse research environment and aim to be an inclusive university, where difference is celebrated and respected. We welcome and encourage applications from under-represented groups.

If you have circumstances that you feel we should be aware of that have affected your educational attainment, then please feel free to tell us about it in your application form. The best way to do this is a short paragraph at the end of your personal statement.

Funding Notes

A studentship includes Home tuition fees, a stipend (£17,668 per annum, 2022/23 rate) and research/training expenses (£1,000 per annum) for up to 4 years. Eligibility criteria apply – see Funding Eligibility section above.


This work will build upon our recent publication:
L. Ohnoutek, J.-Y. Kim, J. Lu, B. J. Olohan, D. M. Răsădean, G. Dan Pantoș, N. A. Kotov, V. K. Valev, Third harmonic Mie scattering from semiconductor nanohelices, Nat. Photonics 16, 126-133 (2022).

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