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Development of ultra-high sensitivity and selectivity nanogap electrode apta-sensors for mapping the prevalence of hormones in aquatic systems


Funded PhD


3 years (full-time)

Application deadline:

Wednesday 23 January 2019

About this project

Pharmaceuticals and other anthropogenic compounds are found in the aquatic environment often at extremely low levels, yet are still capable of toxic impacts that require monitoring.

A new advancement in nanoscale sensor technology at Hull, culminating in the development of a label-free, capacitive nanogap sensor with ultra-high sensitivity and selectivity, has the potential to bring a new dimension to environmental sensing. It avoids labour intensive collections and lab-based analytical assessment using large and expensive equipment.

The PhD project will improve the fabrication methodology of the device and better understand the underlying physics of how the device functions. The ultimate aim  will be to  build a hand-held or remote prototype sensor that targets a number of EU Watch List chemicals, such as estrogens.

The PhD student will develop advanced nanotechnology skills involving chip design, cleanroom fabrication methods, aptamer electrode functionalization methods and AC impedance spectroscopy measurement techniques.

Working with our partners we will also aim to trial remotely stationed prototypes that are wirelessly linked to the cloud.

Project supervisors:

The University's Postgraduate Training Scheme (PGTS) provides a range of generic and discipline-specific modules to support research students through their programme. 

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The library has an exclusive lounge for postgraduate research students and a dedicated Skills Team to provide a wide range of study and research skills help.

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The Graduate School provides support to postgraduate research students. Offering skills development opportunities and dedicated facilities, the school is here to help you achieve your potential. 

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Research at Hull tackles big challenges and makes an impact on lives globally, every day. Our current research portfolio spans everything from health to habitats, food to flooding and supply chains to slavery. 

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The studentships will include full fees and maintenance (£14,777 in 2018/19) for three years, depending on satisfactory progress.

Entry requirements

Applicants for all projects should have a 1st class undergraduate degree and Masters level qualification in physical, engineering or environmental sciences, or a related discipline, together with relevant research experience. A 2:1 may be considered, if combined with relevant experience.