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PhD Studentship - Bottom-up chemical synthesis of photonic metamaterials and metasurfaces from nanomaterials

Quantum, Light & Matter Group

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:  Wednesday 31 August 2022
Reference:  1661222WF

Supervisory Team:    Prof. Antonios Kanaras (Physics and Astronomy), Dr Vassili Fedotov (Zepler Institute)

Project description

Nanomaterials are now employed in many fields of science and technology ranging from biomedicine and the development of new diagnostic methods, to physics and engineering, and the fabrication of novel devices for energy conversion and storage. The major reason for the vast range of applications of nanomaterials is the ability to easily adjust their magnetic, electrical, optical, catalytic and mechanical properties.

Nanomaterials can act as effective building blocks of so-called metamaterials –  artificial crystals engineered on the mesoscale, which are able to interact with light in ways no natural materials can. Current methods of fabricating metamaterials are based on “top-down” lithographic approaches. These approaches, however, are quite expensive and time consuming, which limits the dimensions of fabricated samples to few hundred micrometers. In addition, the metamaterials fabricated by lithography come out as very thin films comprising only few crystal layers. Direct fabrication of bulk optical metamaterials using 3D printing techniques is extremely challenging, as the crystalline structure of metamaterials must be reproduced on the scale of few hundred nanometers. 

This project aims to develop “bottom-up” methods for mass production of bulk metamaterials with tuneable optical properties. It will utilize accurate self-assembly of nanoparticles on the mesoscale into crystals using DNA scaffolds. More specifically, the project aims to program and control the assembly of mesoscale crystals by taking advantage of the unique and selective base-pair recognition properties of oligonucleotides, as well as the ease of their chemical modification in conjunction with the tuneable properties of chemically engineered nanomaterials. Our ultimate goal is to develop bulk metamaterials and their planar versions, metasurfaces, of palpable size with variable compositions and extraordinary optical properties.

The project will be run jointly by Dr. Vassili Fedotov, an expert in nanophotonics and optical metamaterials, and Prof. Kanaras, an expert in nanomaterials chemical synthesis and design. The successful candidate will gain expertise in the chemical synthesis and surface modification of nanoparticles, and their physicochemical characterization, as well as metamaterial modeling and characterization using a vast range of techniques including electron and optical microscopy, optical spectrometry, polarimetry etc. Candidates should have a degree in one of the following disciplines: Chemistry, Physics, or Material Science. 

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Prof. Antonios Kanaras, QLM Research Group, Email:  Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 2466.

Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 August 2022 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Funding: For UK students, Tuition Fees and a stipend of £15,609 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years. 

How To Apply

Applications should be made online. Select programme type (Research), 2022/23, Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, next page select “PhD  Physics (Full time)”. In Section 2 of the application form you should insert the name of the supervisor Antonios Kanaras 

Applications should include

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts to date

Apply online:

For further information please contact: 


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