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Self-cleaning nanocoatings with intrinsic Covid-resistant and antimicrobial action

   School of Natural Science

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  Dr Antonios Kelarakis  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a PhD (via MPhil) studentship in the field of smart materials within the School of Natural Sciences. The studentship is tenable for up to 3.5 years full time [subject to satisfactory progress]. The studentship is open to home and international applicants. Home tuition fees are covered at the appropriate rate. International applicants would be required to pay the difference in tuition fees. The studentship will provide an annual stipend of £16,062 per year (UKRI rate). Appropriate bench fees will be covered. It is expected that the successful applicant will commence in September 2022.

Project Description:

The recent pandemic and the associated massive use of antimicrobials highlighted the need for the design of advanced surfaces (particularly in public facilities such as health centres, schools, supermarkets, etc) that offer a multiple level of protection against a wide spectrum of bacterial and viral strains. Ideally, those self-cleaning surfaces should be generated in a sustainable manner and should provide long-lasting shielding under a range of environmental conditions. 

To that end, we have pioneered the development of non-toxic and structurally robust carbogenic nanoparticles (C-dots)1-3 that show advanced performance in simultaneously combating both bacterial and viral contamination, while their unique mechanism of action inhibits the occurrence of antibiotic resistance4,5. Moreover, we have recently demonstrated the synthesis of C-dot based formulations following an approach that is environmentally benign, readily scalable and thoroughly compatible with standard processing applied in industry6.

The project will focus on the development of (ideally waterborne) C-dot based colloidal formulations that can be applied retrospectively to existing surfaces via simple spray-coating techniques along with C-dot nanocompositions that can be easily incorporated into popular wall paints, thus transforming surfaces prone to pathogen contamination to active guardians of the public health. 

Further information

Informal project related enquiries about the post can be made to Dr Antonios Kelarakis ([Email Address Removed])

For full details go to:


Please apply using the following link, quoting the studentship reference number DTC023:


For any other queries, please email [Email Address Removed].

Closing Date: 24th June 2022

Proposed Interview Date: TBC



1.“Formation mechanism of carbogenic nanoparticles with dual photoluminescence emission” A. Kelarakis, M.J. Krysmann, P. Dallas, E.P. Giannelis, Journal of the American Chemical Society, 134,747-750 (2012)
2. “Carbon dot based nanopowders and their application for fingerprint recovery” D. Fernandes, M.J. Krysmann, A. Kelarakis, Chemical Communications 51, 4902-4905 (2015)
3. “Graphene quantum dots: in the crossroad of graphene, quantum dots and carbogenic nanoparticles” A. Kelarakis Current Opinion in Colloid and Interface Science 20, 354-361 (2015)
4. “A rich gallery of carbon dots based photoluminescent suspensions and powders derived by citric acid/ urea” J.D. Stachowska, A. Murphy, C. Mellor, D. Fernandes, E. Gibbons, M. Krysmann, A. Kelarakis, E. Burgaz, J. Moore, S. G. Yeates, Scientific Reports, 11,10554 (2021)
5.“Exploring the potential of Carbon Dots to combat COVID-19” S. Kotta, H. M. Aldawsari, S. M. Badr-Eldin, N. A. Alhakamy, S. Md, A. B. Nair, P. K. Deb, Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences, 7, 616575 (2020)
6.“In situ generation of carbon dots within a polymer matrix” D. Fernandes, K. Heslop, A. Kelarakis, M. Krysmann, L. Estevez, Polymer 188, 122159 (2020)
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