Controlled Synthesis of Nanomaterials under Benign Conditions (MAYESA2_U18SF)

University of East Anglia
September 13 2017
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

Nanomaterials have gained increasing prominence over the last 20 years due to ever-improving methods of synthesis and characterisation and a greater understanding of their unusual mesoscopic properties. Synthesis of nanoparticles with tight control of size and structure is still a challenge, however, and recipes need to be carefully optimised to produce the desired products consistently. In general, hot injection methods using thermal decomposition of precursors in ligating solvent mixtures tend to give the best uniformity, but they are difficult to scale up and energetically expensive. Many of the precursors are also expensive, unstable or toxic. To circumvent these difficulties, alternative approaches are required using more benign conditions and reagents, combined with alternative methods of size control based on custom-designed stabilising agents and careful control of concentration and mixing using flow-chemistry and nanospray concepts. In this project such approaches will be evaluated for a variety of useful nanomaterials, such as iron oxide, silver sulphide and copper iodide. It will provide an excellent introduction to nanomaterials synthesis and characterisation and the materials generated will be used in a number of collaborative projects at UEA and beyond, with which the PhD student could also get involved. The Mayes group has been working with nanomaterials for many years and we are well equipped for this type of materials synthesis.

This PhD project provides an opportunity to explore synthetic nanomaterials chemistry. It would suit a candidate with a background in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering or Materials Science who enjoys the challenge of building equipment and assembling “bits and bobs” to generate suitable flow reactors and mixing systems to achieve the required goals.

The project may be available to start earlier than October 2018, but candidates should discuss this with the primary supervisor in the first instance.

Funding notes

This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources.  Details of tuition fees can be found at

A bench fee is also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research.  The amount charged annually will vary considerably depending on the nature of the project and applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.

This job comes from a partnership with Science Magazine and Euraxess