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PhD applicants for October 2022

Design of light-responsive emulsions under ultrasonic radiation

Potential applicants for this four-year joint PhD studentship are strongly encouraged to first make an informal enquiry by email to Prof. Rachel Evans ( or Dr Gregory Smith (, before making any formal application to the University thorough the Postgraduate Application Portal at

Closing date: 20th April 2022.

The Project

Particle-stabilised (“Pickering”) emulsions are promising encapsulants with potential use in diverse commercial products across the pharmaceutical, food, healthcare and energy sectors. Light-responsive Pickering emulsions, which can be triggered to release their cargo on-demand using light, are an exciting emerging technology. However, these emulsions are tricky to design due to the complex relationship between the particle properties and emulsion formation and structure.

This interdisciplinary project aims to identify design rules for light-responsive Pickering emulsions by exploring the relationship between structure and response using small-angle neutron scattering (SANS). This will involve the synthesis of Pickering emulsions using ultrasound and further characterisation, along with the design of an experimental apparatus to enable in situ sonication and light irradiation during SANS measurements. This will be used to map structure-property characteristics, which enable on-demand control of emulsion stability with light, ultimately leading to new understanding that will help innovate design in this emerging class of materials. The project will provide the opportunity to use a wide range of characterisation techniques, including international neutron and X-ray facilities, optical microscopy and spectroscopy, rheology and contact angle tensiometry.

This is an exciting opportunity for applicants looking to bridge the gap between fundamental science and applied research. The project will be based in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, University of Cambridge for years 1 and 4 to undertake initial training and carry out the emulsion design. In years 2 and 3, the project will be based at the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source (for a period of at least one year) to enable the development of the sample environment and carry out key measurements with direct support from the ISIS staff. The successful candidate will gain experience working in two highly stimulating and collaborative research environments.

Applicants should have (or expect to be awarded) an upper 2nd or 1st class honours degree at the level of MChem, MPhys, MSci, MEng (or overseas equivalents) in a relevant science subject (Chemistry, Physics, Materials Science). Experience or enthusiasm for the practical design and testing of small equipment would be advantageous as this will be a key component of the project.

Postdoctoral Researchers/Fellowships

Opportunities for PDRA and Fellowship positions will be posted here when they become available.

Prospective applicants

We are happy to support talented researchers to apply for independent research fellowships to join the group at any time. Please contact us with sufficient time in advance of the a deadline (2-3 months) to discuss your application.

Potential funding sources: