PhD Studentship: Design and Fabrication of Self-Cleaning and Antibacterial Polymer Surfaces

Loughborough University - Department of Materials

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship funded by the School of Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering to start 1st of January 2017. The project will be based in the Department of Materials at Loughborough University.

Project details

Nature has been fabricating superhydrophobic surfaces for hundreds of millions of years, such as the lotus leaf or gecko’s feet. But only a few present outstanding wetting resistance to both water and oil. This project aims to mimic one of these, in particular the skin structure of an insect. For this purpose, polymer colloids in water of different sizes and compositions will be used to design and fabricate the desired architecture. These colloids are the base of environmentally friendly paints and coatings, as they do not release any harmful solvents to the atmosphere when dried. Different bactericidal agents will be added to the colloidal dispersion in order to impart antibacterial functionality to the final coatings.

Advanced techniques of atomic force microscopy, electron microscopy, confocal microscopy and hardness tests will be used to characterise the films. It is expected that the successful applicant will spend some time working in international large facilities both in the UK and overseas using neutron and X-ray scattering techniques to assess and optimise the structural order of the coatings.

A successful project would result in the development and optimisation of a fast and reliable process to fabricate coatings with antibacterial and self-cleaning properties.

Eligibility criteria

Students with previous academic study in physical chemistry, materials science or physics are particularly suitable for this project. Applicants should have an upper second-class honours degree or higher. A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in colloid and interface science, scattering and data analysis/modelling would be an advantage. All applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements, available at:

Studentship details

The studentship will start in January 2017, is for three years, and is valued at £14,296 p.a. plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Due to funding restrictions, this is only open to applicants eligible for UK/EU fees.

How to apply

General information about the Department of Materials can be found at:

For informal enquiries about the project, please contact Dr Ignacio Martin-Fabiani (

To apply, please complete the online application using the following link: Under programme name, select Materials

The closing date for applications is 25th November 2016.

Please quote the following reference when applying: MP-IMF-1614

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Midlands of England