The UCL Department of Chemical Engineering is one of the top research and teaching chemical engineering departments in the world, and has an extensive research portfolio across a wealth of areas, from the molecular scale to the scale of pilot and industrial plants (www.ucl.ac.uk/chemeng). A research project on the flow synthesis of nanoparticles is available in the group of Prof. A. Gavriilidis (https://www.ucl.ac.uk/chemical-engineering/research/gavriilidis-lab).
Nanoparticles are in increasing demand in applications as diverse as energy, healthcare and electronics. Their small size imparts a plethora of desirable properties, such as a high specific surface area on which chemical or biological processes can occur. These applications highly depend on the size, shapes, and functionalization of the nanomaterials. Thus, the robust and reproducible synthetic process is of great importance. However, these nanoparticles are conventionally produced in batch systems, which are poorly controllable, leading to products that are hard to reproduce. Compared to these conventional systems, microchannel reactors give good performance during the synthesis with precise control of operational parameters, controlled or fast mixing, enhanced mass/heat transfer and ease of scale-up. The research aims to design and demonstrate a sustainable, and scalable approach for manufacturing nanoparticles with advanced properties in a way that is controllable and reproducible and that does not involve significant upscaling issues. Based on the characteristics of the selected synthetic route, specific microchannel reactors will be designed and investigated for scalable manufacturing of nanoparticles. Online particle characterisation techniques will be integrated for monitoring of nanoparticle size, concentration and characteristics such as polymorphism. This will allow monitoring/adjusting the nanoparticle properties continuously, thus enabling automated operation compatible with “Industry 4.0” principles. The project will focus on metal nanoparticles, oxide materials and nano- pharmaceutical ingredients.
The candidate must have or be expected to obtain an First-Class Honours degree from an M.Eng level programme or its equivalent (e.g., a 3 year BSc followed by an MSc degree) in chemical engineering, chemistry, materials science, physics or an associated discipline. For an evaluation, please send a two page CV, a personal statement (max 500 words), full grade transcript(s) for all degree(s) already obtained, and for all completed modules of currently in progress degrees.