PhD Studentship: A New Light for Plasmonics: Synthesis and Characterization of Reconfigurable, Earth-Abundant Plasmonic Nanoparticles

University of Cambridge - Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy

West Cambridge

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 3.5 years in the first instance.

Full or fees-only award available to students who pay 'home rate' fees Starting date: October 2018

Applications are invited for the following PhD project, to be supervised by Dr Emilie Ringe (

A New Light for Plasmonics: Synthesis and Characterization of Reconfigurable, Earth-Abundant Plasmonic Nanoparticles

Nanoparticles (NPs) of free electron metals, such as Au, Ag, and Al, have been shown to sustain coherent oscillations of their electron cloud, known as localized surface plasmon resonances, or LSPRs. LSPRs are modulated by the NP's shape, size, and surrounding environment; they lead to wavelength-dependent photon absorption and scattering, as well as a local enhancement of the electric field that can be used in spectroscopy and photocatalysis. Recently, we developed a new partial galvanic replacement approach to synthesize semi-hollow, bimetallic plasmonic structures and discovered how, with an electron beam, we can reversibly and controllably modify their antenna-like properties after synthesis. This discovery offers many opportunities for controlling light localization down to the nanometer level. In this project, the applicant will apply this partial galvanic replacement synthesis to encapsulate and analyze plasmonic NPs and study their reconfigurability, with aim to unravel the underlying mechanism and design principles for the creation of switchable light-matter interactions. Further, the applicant will develop new synthetic routes to incorporate Earth-abundant metals such as Mg, Na, and K, which are predicted to be plasmonic but never studied due to their reactivity.

The minimum academic requirement for admission is an upper second class UK honours degree at the level of MSci, MEng, MPhys, MChem etc, or a lower second with a good Master's, (or overseas equivalents) in a relevant subject.

The studentship provides a maintenance grant at the minimum Research Council UK rate and tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for students who fully satisfy the residence requirements of the UK Research Councils. A fees-only award will be available to EU nationals who are not ordinarily resident in the UK. Students who are liable for fees at the 'overseas' rate are not eligible for these studentships.

An on-line application form is available at Further information on the application process is available from Dr Rosie Ward (

Informal enquiries may be made to Dr Emilie Ringe by email to

Please quote reference LJ13654 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

Share this PhD
  Share by Email   Print this job   More sharing options
We value your feedback on the quality of our adverts. If you have a comment to make about the overall quality of this advert, or its categorisation then please send us your feedback
Advert information

Type / Role:



South East England