DSTL Fully-funded PhD studentship: Development of Novel Nano-Metamaterials from Viral Building Blocks

University of Birmingham

University of Birmingham

Structured metamaterials are periodically arranged nanostructures in which the dielectric constant is periodically modulated on a length-scale comparable to the desired wavelength of operation. These materials have a wide range of potential uses including cloaking materials, light-storage devices, high-speed optical computers and nano-lasers, and can offer numerous applications in transformation optics.

This PhD project will take advantage of synthetic biology in order to deliver novel artificial three-dimensional nanostructures for photonic band-gap and metamaterials. This will be achieved by correct fit of viruses’ fragments to build-up well-defined structures on nanoscale. The virus blocks will be designed to spontaneously assemble into 3D-periodic network structures that are predicted to have interesting optical properties. Templating of these nanostructures will allow the replication of their network into periodic nano-metals, which will have the correct architecture for optical metamaterials.

This is a highly multidisciplinary project incorporating elements of synthetic biology, materials, engineering and physics. The student will gain considerable experience in a range of techniques including, viral self-assembly, synthesis and chemical functionalization of viral blocks, theoretical computational studies, advanced electron and atomic force microscopy, electrochemistry and advanced spectroscopic techniques.

The project is fully-funded for 3 years (stipend and fees). Applications are welcome from UK and EU candidates and continuation of funding is subject to annual performance review.  The candidates should be qualified to at least first degree level with an upper second or first class honours degree (high 2:1) in an appropriate branch of Engineering (e.g. Materials, Electrical, Chemical) or Exact Science (e.g. Biology, Physics, Chemistry) or related fields. A strong background in optics, clean room hands-on experience and electron microscopy characterisation as well as a previous laboratory experience is advantageous, although full training will be provided. PhD will be supervised by Dr P.G. Oppenheimer (Chemical Engineering) and Professor T. Dafforn (Biosciences). Applications comprising a detailed CV, cover letter and the names and addresses of two referees should be sent by email to Dr Pola G. Oppenheimer: Dr Oppenheimer would also welcome informal enquiries. The successful applicant will be required subsequently to submit a standard application to the University.

Early application is encouraged as the position will be filled as soon as a suitable candidate is identified.

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