Students complete 2 Mini projects of 8 weeks duration and one Midi project of 12 weeks duration during their first year. These projects are designed to help expand the research horizons of students, before they decide on their PhD topic. The Midi project is normally expected to continue on into a PhD.
The Mini projects are 8 weeks in length (Nov – Jan and Feb – Apr) and run alongside other courses that students take during their MRes year. These projects give students an exposure to day-to-day research environments, and also help them explore new research areas that they have not worked in previously.
The Midi project is 12 weeks (May – Jul) and helps students test the ground with their PhD topic, supervisor, and research group before committing to doing their PhD in that area. Most students tend to continue on from their Midi to PhD in the same group.
PhD Project Topics
Throughout their first year, students speak to potential PhD supervisors from around the University to help identify and explore a PhD project that fits their interests and NanoDTC research themes as well as other requirements. This process is facilitated by the NanoDTC through the release of PhD project expressions of interest and opportunities to meet thereafter with people from different groups, including eligible supervisors as part of the programme (Nov-Jan).
The choice of PhD projects is made around April. These proposals are all vetted by the NanoDTC External Advisory Board for ambition, risk, and fit to NanoDTC themes before students choose one project in which they are most interested.
Students then flesh out their chosen PhD project proposal and defend it in front of a viva panel in July before embarking on their PhD in September. Brief descriptions of the PhD projects undertaken by our students are included below.
Optical Metamaterials made by Self-Assembly
Creating new optical properties from self-stacking nanostructures So what is a Metamaterial?! Metamaterials are artificial materials engineered to have properties not readily available in nature.
The next great detective story: using nanosensors for early cancer detection
The hardest part about detecting cancer is that the disease emerges from our own tissues. The detectives in the clinic, the doctors, have a difficult
Upgrading Biology: Building Better than Nature
Everything in Nature is made from just 20 different amino acid building blocks; imagine what you could do with 200. Proteins define Biology and set
Looking inside lithium-ion batteries
Alice Merryweather (c2018) is the lead author on a paper published in the journal Nature, reporting an a new optical technique called interferometric scattering microscopy
40 new EPSRC studentships for NanoDTC
We are pleased to announce that EPSRC have awarded a new Nano CDT grant of 40 studentships for training the next generation of interdisciplinary innovative
3D printing going nano
Devices for printing 3 dimensional objects, called 3D printers, have received a lot of public and scientific attention in the past few decades. They are
Colour from Nothing
Most colours we see, with the exception of coloured lights like neons or televisions, are produced by dyes: molecules and materials which absorb some colours
Opening a Window to Sunlight
The price of producing electricity from sunlight has been falling dramatically over the past three decades, but a push towards more efficient devices is still
From waste to fuel: quantifying sustainability
Taylor Uekert (c2016) and co-authors highlight key steps for taking a solar waste-to-hydrogen technology from the lab to the real world. With 70% of global
Jelly solar cells
Solar cells are traditionally made from high purity semiconductor materials, such as silicon. Their production requires high temperatures and ultra-clean environments, which makes them expensive. The resulting structure of the material is extremely ordered and rigid. A novel class of solar cell materials has recently been discovered. These materials are called hybrid perovskites. They have the same efficiency for converting light into electricity as the traditional semiconductors, but do not rely on the same expensive production process. This favourable combination has attracted many scientists to this material over the past decade.
Bacteria: Enemy or Hero?
The world is facing a global energy crisis as CO2 levels in the atmosphere continue to increase at an alarming rate. What if CO2 could be converted
The power of soft connections: next-generation neural interfaces
Designing electrical components with mechanical softness in mind can move us closer to direct brain-machine communication. The ability to connect computer hardware with the human
Between Light and Matter
The global demand for energy is increasing with every year. If we do not want to rely on burning limited fossil fuels that emit greenhouse
Navigating hyper-dimentional voltage space
My research involves developing an algorithm to automatically tune a 2xN array of quantum dots (QDs) that could be used as the building block for
Singlet Fission Luminescent Solar Concentrators
Arrhenius, in 1896, was the first to use basic principles of physical chemistry to calculate estimates of the extent to which increases in atmospheric carbon