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Research Associate

University of Sheffield - Department of Chemistry

Location: Sheffield
Salary: £37,099 to £45,585 Grade 7, per annum
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 15th February 2024
Closes: 28th February 2024
Job Ref: UOS040123

Applications are invited for a 23-month fixed-term post-doctoral position, tenable from 01.03.2024 or as soon as possible thereafter, to conduct world-class research in the field of polymer colloids under the supervision of Prof. Steve Armes FRS in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Sheffield.

This Leverhulme Trust-funded project is entitled New Synthetic Mimics for Cosmic Dust Particles and involves informal collaborations with an international consortium of space scientists. One aspect of this project will involve the synthesis of micron-sized particles of polyaromatic hydrocarbons such as anthracene, phenanthrene, pyrene and perylene. Such particles will be coated with an ultrathin overlayer of a conducting polymer (polypyrrole), which will enable their efficient acceleration up to hypervelocities by our collaborators in the USA and Germany using a 2 MV van de Graaff accelerator. In addition, 10 µm phenanthrene particles will be prepared for Light Gas Gun experiments at the University of Kent in the UK. Characterisation techniques will include optical microscopy, laser diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, FT-IR and Raman spectroscopy and XPS. Relevant publications include Chemical Communications, 2015, 51, 16886-16899, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2021, 13, 3175-3185, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2023, 15, in the press (DOI: 10.1021/acsami.3c08585).

A second aspect of this project will involve the synthesis of thermoresponsive block copolymer vesicles via RAFT aqueous emulsion polymerisation. Such vesicles will be loaded with various actives (e.g. salts, amino acids, sugars etc.) and then coated with polypyrrole prior to hypervelocity experiments. Characterisation techniques for this part of the project include 1 H NMR spectroscopy, gel permeation chromatography, dynamic light scattering, transmission electron microscopy, aqueous electrophoresis, Raman spectroscopy and XPS. Relevant publications include Polymer Chemistry, 2021, 12, 3629-3639 and Macromolecules, 2022, 55, 3051-3062.

The successful applicant will be located at the University of Sheffield. They will have a strong publications list and be a highly motivated, independent research worker and a strong team player. Supervision of PhD and/or undergraduate students may be required and the ability to write high-quality first-draft scientific papers and give excellent oral presentations at international conferences is essential.We’re one of the best not-for-profit organisations to work for in the UK. The University’s Total Reward Package includes a competitive salary, a generous Pension Scheme and annual leave entitlement, as well as access to a range of learning and development courses to support your personal and professional development.

To find out what makes the University of Sheffield a remarkable place to work, watch this short film: www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LblLk18zmo, and follow @sheffielduni and @ShefUniJobs on Twitter for more information.

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