Topics: nanomaterials, nanochemistry, nanomotors, nanoparticles (synthesis, functionalisation and characterisation), Janus nanoparticles, catalysis, nonequilibrium nanosystems, complexity and emergent behaviour, nanoscale rheology, drug delivery, dynamic light scattering, nanoparticle tracking analysis, transmission electron microscopy
Nanomotors are a novel type of nanoparticles (d < 100 nm) that are capable of self-propelling in a liquid by chemical catalysis. Owing to their unique ability of swimming actively through a solution, nanomotors hold special promise as active nanocarriers for drug delivery, as pollutant-seeking catalysts for pollution remedy, and even as mobile platforms for making nanomachines. Currently, their practical applications are, however, critically hindered by the limited availability of a scalable production scheme and the excessive reliance on toxic chemical fuels.
This interdisciplinary research project aims exactly to tackle these two problems by developing a scalable synthetic scheme for making biocompatible nanomotors. The student will design novel ways of making artificial nanomotors (e.g. catalytic Janus nanoparticles) by wet chemical synthesis and develop robust strategies for their selective surface functionalisation. The resultant nanomotors will be characterised by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), dynamic light scattering (DLS) and other optical techniques. Powering cycles based on innoxious fuels will be developed and optimised. In addition, active propulsion of these nanomotors in complex bio-media will also be investigated. The success of this project will open up entirely new possibilities in the mass production of intelligent biocompatible nanodevices for the real-life applications in active delivery of drugs, green chemical processes and nanotechnology for clean environment.
The Research Environment
The research will be conducted at the UCL Institute for Materials Discovery which is a newly founded research hub in science and engineering of novel materials. The student will be exposed to a highly interdisciplinary research environment and work closely with local collaborators in the Department of Chemistry, Department of Chemical Engineering and the London Centre for Nanotechnology, as well as with other international collaborators.
The successful applicant should have or expect to achieve 1st or 2:1 class integrated Master degree (MSci, MChem, etc) or 2:2 minimum BSc plus stand-alone Master degree with merit (or international equivalent) in Chemistry, Physics, Materials Science or a related discipline. The applicant should demonstrate strong interest and self-motivation in the subject, good experimental practice, ability to think analytically and creatively, together with good presentation and writing skills in English. Previous experience in nanoparticle synthesis and characterisation and in working under an interdisciplinary research environment is highly desirable but not necessary, as training will be provided.
Please contact Dr. Tung Chun Lee ([email protected]
) for further details or to express an interest. Applications will be accepted till 30 January 2016. However, the recruitment will cease as soon as a suitable candidate is found. Start date is any time between September 2015 and September 2016.