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PhD in nanomaterials for artificial photosynthesis

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

Funding is available for a PhD studentship to start as soon as possible. The project will be based in the group of Dr Salvador Eslava in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London and will be linked to a recently awarded EPSRC Fellowship project to Dr Eslava. His group is currently at University of Bath but they are moving to Imperial College London in October/November 2019, so you will use for the first time brand new equipment and labs. Collaboration will be kept with colleagues at Imperial College London, University of Bath, and others. The candidate will also be part of the UK Solar Fuels Network and the CO2Chem Network, funded by EPSRC, which will provide further opportunities for attending international conferences and disseminating your research.

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 PhD project aims to develop efficient artificial leaves to make chemical fuels from sunlight. They 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. They will develop novel wet-chemistry methods or vapour deposition techniques for the preparation of photocatalysts and photoelectrodes, in order to improve their properties and performance, and exploit the use of novel nanomaterials such as graphene oxide, halide perovskites, oxo/alkoxy clusters, and others. Extended physico-chemical characterisation with XRD, UV-Vis, EXAFS, SEM, TEM, XPS and photocatalytic and photoelectrochemical tests will be carried out to relate the performance of the nanomaterials to their properties.

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, they will advance in the utilisation of CO2, offering strategies to decrease the high levels of atmospheric CO2 causing global warming.

Applications should be made through the College’s online application system, specifying Dr Eslava as supervisor:

Important information about the College’s PhD application process can be found on the following page:

Informal enquiries about the post can be made to Dr Salvador Eslava ()

Funding Notes

The standard period of the scholarship is 42 months. Funding is available for all applicants regardless of their fee status. The scholarship will cover both tuition fees and an annual tax-free contribution to maintenance costs of £17,009.

Applicants should be able to demonstrate excellent written and oral communication skills, and an outstanding academic and research record in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science, or any other related discipline.


The contact details of 2 referees will be needed, at least one of whom must be an academic referee (for example your project supervisor or personal tutor). You will be asked to give the e-mail addresses of the referees, which will trigger reference requests directly to the referees.

How good is research at Imperial College London in Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 172.80

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

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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