PhD Studentship A Comprehensive Atlas of Oscillating Reactions

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:   Saturday 31 August 2013
Interview Date:  
Reference:  242813EB

Oscillating reactions are fascinating systems of complex reaction networks in which reagents are alternately consumed and regenerated, leading to a periodic change in the composition of the reaction mixture. Several examples of such clock reactions are known, with the Belousov-Zhabotinsky (BZ) reaction being one of the best known and studied. In the BZ reaction the change in colour of an iron complex leads to dramatic colour oscillations in stirred mixtures, and to complex 2D patterns of spirals, bands and whorls in unstirred systems. Understanding the factors that govern the behaviour of clock reactions is important as it guides the development of new ‘smart’ materials capable of self-healing as well as providing ways of creating unconventional chemical communication systems.

The aim of this project is to develop an ‘atlas’ that links the behaviour (e.g. oscillation frequency, onset of chaos, existence of ‘zombie’ regimes) of stirred (3D) and unstirred (2D) oscillating reactions to:

– component concentrations
– molecular crowding agents
– confinement in reduced dimensionality environments (e.g. channels in microfluidic devices)
– nanostructured environments (e.g. liquid crystalline phases).

A subset of the work will study how different oscillating systems can be used in microchannel devices to implement novel information transmission/processing processes. This part of the work will be supervised by Dr Klaus-Peter Zauner in Electronics and Computer Science. The research will involve uv-vis spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering for particle sizing, 2D pattern analysis, kinetic simulations or reaction networks, small-angle X-ray diffraction (at the MAXLab in Lund, Sweden), and the design and construction of simple microfluidic devices.

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The post would suit someone with a background in Chemistry but with a broad interest in science, Enthusiasm, commitment and a willingness/aptitude for learning are more important than direct experience.

Due to funding restrictions, these studentships are only available to EU/UK students

Administrative contact and how to apply:

Please complete the University’s online application form, which you can find at:

You should enter Prof George Attard as your proposed supervisor. Queries on the application procedure should be addressed to

Closing Date:  Saturday 31 August 2013

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