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Plexcitonic Sensors for Medical Diagnostics.


   Department of Chemistry

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  Prof Graham Leggett  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Do you enjoy exciting, cross-disciplinary and cutting-edge research? We invite applications for this studentship, starting on 1 October 2022, as part of a £7.3 M collaborative project funded by EPSRC and led by Prof G. J. Leggett. You will be part of a team of 14 researchers across the Universities of Sheffield, Bristol and Exeter with lead investigators in Chemistry (Prof S. P. Armes FRS, Prof J. Weinstein and Prof N. H. Williams (Sheffield)), Biology (Prof C. N. Hunter FRS (Sheffield) and Prof D. N. Woolfson (Bristol)), Physics (Dr J. Clark, (Sheffield) and Prof W. L. Barnes (Exeter)) and the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health (Prof D. W. Lambert).

The aim of our programme is to develop a new, modular approach for the creation of photonic materials, inspired by biological photosynthetic membranes. We call this approach 'molecular photonic breadboards': minimal units - synthetic antenna complexes - are designed from scratch to organise molecular components precisely in space. These building blocks are assembled to form nanostructured films. We will exploit the exciting new physics of strong light-matter coupling, in which excitons (molecular excited states) are hybridised with confined optical modes (localised surface plasmon resonances) to create new states (plexcitons) that combine the properties of light and matter.1,2 Our goal is to control energy transfer pathways from the nm to the cm scale, and is to lay the foundations for a revolution in the design of molecular photonic materials.

For more information on the science behind our programme visit www.breadboards.org.

In plasmonic biosensors, weak coupling causes small shifts in their plasmon bands. However, in strong coupling unambiguous splitting of the plasmon band is observed. This should offer precise quantification because the magnitude of the splitting depends on the density of excitons in the mode volume. Fitting of spectra using could in principle be automated, and readout can be performed using an inexpensive spectrophotometer. In this project, you will design medical sensors that utilise strong light-matter coupling in combination with new surface chemistries to achieve sensitive quantitative detection of markers for disease. The project will involve nanofabrication, polymer chemistry, surface chemistry and spectroscopy, and collaboration with researchers in the School of Dentistry.

For further information, please contact Prof Graham Leggett ([Email Address Removed]).

Applications should be submitted via the online portal


Funding Notes

This studentship offers the full UK tuition fee for 3.5 years and an annual maintenance stipend at the standard research council rate

References

1. Tsargorodska, A.; Cartron, M. L.; Vasilev, C.; Kodali, G.; Mass, O. A.; Baumberg, J. J.; Dutton, P. L.; Hunter, C. N.; Törmä, P.; Leggett, G. J. Nano Lett. 2016, 16, 6850−6856.
2. Lishchuk, A.; Kodali, G.; Mancini, J. A.; Broadbent, M.; Darroch, B.; Mass, O. A.; Nabok, A.; Dutton, P. L.; Hunter, C. N.; Törmä, P.; Leggett, G. J. Nanoscale 2018, 10, 13064-13073.
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