Open Positions and Thesis Topics

We currently have no openings for postdoctoral researchers. International postdoctal applicants will be required to seek fellowship funding e.g. Humboldt postdoctoral fellowship

Topics of study which are expected to be growth areas in the group over the next years include
  • Studies of patchy/Janus particles self-assembly (suitable for someone with background in chemistry, physics)
  • Studies of the optical properties of single plasmonic particles (suitable for someone with a background in physics/applied physics/materials science)

If you have specific experience in any of these areas we would be very interested to discuss a possible position in our group. We welcome speculative applications provided a clear academic and preferably research background in related fields (chemistry, materials science, nanotechnology, chemical engineering etc.) exist. If you are interested in interdisciplinary research combining colloidal synthesis of complex multifunctional nanoparticulate materials, morphological and functional characterisation as well as exploitation in application-relevant systems please send a resume (with publication list, if applicable) and a list of references to robin.klupp.taylor (at) lfg.fau.de

We are looking for highly motivated Bachelor’s and Master’s students to carry out their projects in our group. If you find our work interesting and would like to know more about these opportunities then please contact Prof. Robin Klupp Taylor  or the respective doctoral researchers in the group. Here are some specific open topics:

 

Contact: Robin Klupp Taylor

The nanostructured particles research group has developed a simple and scalable process to produce metal patches on core particles. Due to the nature of the processes, the patches have a size distribution and not all core particles get coated (see left image below). In order to further optimize the process to produce patchy particles with desirable properties quantitative insight into the patchy dispersity is required. In this project image analysis will be developed for this purpose. The project involves little or no practical labwork and is particularly suitable for students with some programming experience.

What we want: Image analysis codes to determine core size distribution, patch yield (fraction of particles with patch), thickness and coverage distribution

Starting point: real and simulated images of patchy particles and a code to determine which particles have a patch (see right image below)

Left: A typical SEM image of silver-silica patchy particles. Right: The same image following automatic processing to remove the uncoated silica particles

Project objectives:

  1. Develop code able to segment and measure the core particle and patches.
  2. Develop an experimental protocol for obtaining well dispersed patchy particles, automatically acquiring images on the SEM and analysing them for patch yield and coverage

Tools:

  • ImageJ
  • Python
  • POVRay
  • Matlab
  • Scanning electron microscopy
  • Analytical (ultra)centrifugation

Contact: Robin Klupp Taylor

The starting point of this project will be a simple and robust process based on electrophoretic deposition (see Figure below) developed in the group. This process deposits flake-like particles (e.g. commercial mica powder) in an out-of-plane arrangement. In this project, the possibility to arrange flakes in this way will be exploited in order to partially coat the flakes i.e. produce “Janus flakes”. This will be achieved by masking the part of the flakes closest to the substrate with a suitable polymer, followed by coating of the exposed part of the flakes. Once the flakes are released, such partial coating could be used to give the flakes amphiphilic properties, enable catalytic self-propulsion or introduce an unusual optical or magnetic properties.

Left: Electrophoretic process developed in the Nanostructured Particles Research Group to deposit flake-like particles in an out-of-plane orientation. Middle: coating produced when inert counter electrode are used. Right: coating produced when corrosion-susceptible counter electrode is used

Project objective: Demonstrate that the out-of-plane oriented flakes can be further processed to produce novel functional particulate materials

  1. Re-commission previously established electrophoresis setup
  2. Establish desirable coating chemistry (polymer or inorganic material) on suspended flakes
  3. Establish partial flake masking strategy (already in literature for spherical particles)
  4. Show that coating chemistry can be applied to exposed parts of flakes
  5. Release flakes and characterise properties.

Tools: 

  • Electrophoretic deposition
  • Particle coating methods (wet chemical synthesis)
  • Thin film coating methods (spin-coating etc)
  • Particle characterisation (DLS, analytical centrifugation)
  • Optical microscopy and Scanning electron microscopy