Applications are invited to the School of Engineering, University of East Anglia, for a PhD in the field of optical fibre sensors based on nanostructured coatings.
The presence of emerging contaminants (ECs) in inland water is one of the biggest concerns of our time due to the high potential risk posed to human health and the environment . Consequently, many of those ECs have been included on the EU Watch List of ‘priority substances for monitoring’ to obtain reliable information on their concentration levels across Europe. ECs include chemicals found in pharmaceuticals, personal care products, pesticides, industrial additives, etc. They are typically present at low concentrations, making determination extremely challenging, laborious and costly, involving the collection and transportation of samples to the lab and using expensive analytical techniques.
Development of sensing technologies is needed for precise monitoring and control of these pollutants, which must meet strict requirements in terms of robustness, sensitivity, selectivity and precision, and should integrate into existing systems to enable decentralised, high-frequency analysis. Availability of such tools will circumvent errors and attendant costs relating to manual sample collection and transport, permitting fast detection and action when contaminants are detected.
The ultimate goal of this proposal is the design and fabrication of a novel class of cost-effective, rapid-response, highly sensitive and selective optical fibre sensors for in-situ and continuous detection and quantification of a range of ECs in water. To achieve this aim, we will combine the excellent properties of affordable graphene-based materials with a variety of recognition probes and the emergent optical fibre sensors based on lossy mode resonances.
Applicants should hold or be completing an undergraduate honours degree with a 1st or a 2.1 classification.
Degrees in Material Science, Engineering, Chemistry and other related disciplines will be considered.