Macrocycle-functionalised SERS Substrates for Biosensing Applications
This position is fully funded by the UCL-A*STAR Collaborative Programme via the Centre for Doctoral Training in Molecular Modelling and Materials Science (M3S CDT) at UCL. The student will be registered for a PhD at UCL where he/she will spend year 1 and the first six months of year 4. The second and third years of the PhD will be spent at the A*STAR SBIC Biomedical Sciences Institute in Singapore. The Studentship will cover tuition fees at UK/EU rate plus a maintenance stipend £16,057 pro rata in years 1 and 4. During years 2 and 3, the student will receive a full stipend directly from A*STAR. In addition, A*STAR will provide the student with one-off relocation allowance. Please note that due to funding restrictions only UK/EU citizens are eligible for this studentship. The start date is September 2016.
Raman spectroscopy is a vibrational spectroscopic technique which gives ‘fingerprint’ spectra for identification of molecules. Normally weak Raman signals can be enhanced by up to 1014 times when analyte molecules are in close proximity to plasmonic nanostructures, enabling the spectral recognition of single molecules. This phenomenon is known as surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS). This interdisciplinary PhD project aims to develop a novel SERS sensing platform with improved sensitivity and specificity through attaching a series of macrocyclic molecules (cucurbit[n]urils CBn, n = 5–8) onto the surface of SERS substrates, where CBs can effectively pin down analyte molecules (e.g. neurotransmitters and volatile organic compounds) at the “hot-spots” of the substrate via formation of host-guest complexes. Fundamental knowledge of host-guest chemistry will be developed by a combination of experimental measurement and computer simulation at UCL and applied to improve the performance of nanostructured SERS substrates in Prof. Olivo’s lab in Singapore. Success of the project will lead to the next generation sensors for on-site monitoring and diagnostics with new records in sensitivity and specificity. The student will have a chance to acquire hands-on experience in state-of-the-art characterisation techniques, e.g. NMR spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy and electron microscopy.
The successful applicant should have or expect to achieve 1st or 2:1 class integrated Masters degree (MSci, MChem etc.) 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, plus good presentation and writing skills in English. Previous research experience in supramolecular chemistry, nanoparticles and SERS.
The recruitment will cease as soon as a suitable candidate is found though the application deadline is until 31 May 2016.