Reversible Assembly of Solid Patchy Particles

   Department of Physics

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  Assoc Prof Geoff Willmott  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This PhD project will explore technological possibilities for colloidal self-assembly. The aim is to develop method(s) for reversible assembly of micrometer-scale solid colloidal particles into structures such as 3D porous matrices. The colloids may be patchy particles, which can be designed so that they 'dock' in prescribed configurations. Reversibility can be achieved, for example, by using magnetism to produce clusters. The methods developed will be scalable, with specific sustainability applications in mind (e.g. catalysis, or capture and storage), so that useful technologies may emerge.

The ideal candidate will have a strong Honours or Masters degree in a physical sciences discipline, and relevant experimental experience e.g. with microfluidics or fabrication of patchy or Janus colloids. In addition, they should have excellent analytical skills to assist with interpretation of experiments, and a strong command of written English.

The student will be based in the group of Assoc. Prof. Geoff Willmott, affiliated with both Physics and Chemistry at the University of Auckland, the most highly rated University in New Zealand. Auckland is consistently rated as one of the world's top 10 most liveable cities. The project is funded by the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology (, one of New Zealand’s Centres of Research Excellence. There will be an interdisciplinary supervision team, opportunities for international travel, and access to a comprehensive range of materials characterization tools and expertise throughout New Zealand. Aside from excellent training in advanced materials science, there will be opportunities for personal development within the MacDiarmid Institute’s thriving postgraduate community. For example, the Institute’s CRISP programme provides vocational training to enable a smooth transition into an exciting career in science.

The tax-free stipend is $35,000 NZD per year for three years and all tuition fees will be covered. Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, with an initial deadline of 1 July 2022 and with the aim of commencing the project later in 2022. Applications should include a CV, academic transcripts, and a brief (1 page max) statement of research experience. Applicants should demonstrate that they fulfil the University of Auckland’s English language requirements and should provide the names and contact details of at least two academic referees.

For further information and to apply, please contact:

Geoff Willmott ([Email Address Removed])

Associate Professor, The Departments of Physics and Chemistry, The University of Auckland

Deputy Director, Commercialization and Industry Engagement, The MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology

Funding Notes

Funding for this specific project is no longer available but strong applications are welcome on an ongoing basis from any country. Visa requirements can be discussed following an application.
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