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PhD in nanomaterials for artificial photosynthesis

Project Description

The development of artificial leaves is crucial to exploit the solar energy and meet the increasing population energy demand, which is rising 10% per year. In line with this, this project aims to develop efficient artificial leaves to make chemical fuels from sunlight. It will cover photocatalysis with powder nanomaterials or photoelectrochemistry with engineered photoelectrodes. The PhD objective will be to use sunlight to split H2O into hydrogen (and oxygen) and/or photoreduce CO2 with H2O to carbon-based fuels such as methanol, methane and carbon monoxide. The student will work with a multidisciplinary team embracing a wide range of expertise in chemistry, materials science, and chemical engineering. He/she will develop novel wet-chemistry methods for the preparation of photocatalytic nanomaterials, in order to maximise their properties and performance. The candidate will exploit the use of novel nanomaterials such as graphene oxide, halide perovskites, and others for the formation of photocatalysts and photoelectrodes. Extended physico-chemical characterisation with FTIR, XRD, UV-Vis, EXAFS, SEM, TEM and photocatalytic and photoelectrochemical tests will be carried out to relate the performance of the nanomaterials to their properties.

This project will be based in the group of Dr. Salvador Eslava in the Department of Chemical Engineering at University of Bath. This Department is top 4 in the UK for Chemical Engineering (The Times) and obtained 2nd best overall student satisfaction (National Student Survey). Collaboration will be kept with colleagues at University of Bath (the Department of Chemistry). Finally, the candidate will be part of the UK Solar Fuels Network, funded by EPSRC, which will provide further opportunities for attending international conferences and disseminating his/her research.

The PhD project will achieve important advances in artificial photosynthesis, exploiting the solar energy and providing clean solar fuels to be readily used as feedstocks in our existing technologies (the industry of fertilisers, plastics, pharmaceuticals or synthetic fuels for transport). In parallel, it will advance in the utilisation of CO2, offering strategies to decrease the high levels of atmospheric CO2 causing global warming.

If interested, please send an email to Dr. Salvador Eslava with CV and transcript details (S.Eslava @

Please note any formal offer of study will require submission of an application form and supporting documents,

Funding Notes

For this project, we only have funding available for consumables and characterisation facilities. Therefore, we are looking for applicants with scholarships or with the intention to apply for scholarships from funding bodies external to the University of Bath.

Students should have a First class honours degree (or equivalent) in chemistry, materials science, chemical engineering or other suitable subject. Experience in catalysis, inorganic synthesis, reaction engineering, and computer simulations is desirable. The PhD project involves laboratory work. English language requirements must be satisfied.

Further information and entry requirements can be found on
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How good is research at University of Bath in Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 61.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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