PhD Studentship: Self-assembled cellulose structures for sustainable photonic technologies

A 3-year PhD studentship is available in the group led by Dr Silvia Vignolini in the Melville Laboratory for Polymer Synthesis to investigate the use of cellulose as a photonic material.

The most brilliant colours in nature are produced not with pigments but by nano-structuring transparent materials. As an example, some plants obtain vibrant colour by producing self-assembled cellulose nanostructures on their foliage and flowers.  Cellulose is the most abundant and environmentally friendly among bio-polymers available today. Using cellulose as a photonic material will lead to cheap and sustainable photonic devices.  It will also address fundamental questions about the biological significance and assembly mechanisms in cellulose-based natural photonic structures.  In this project, cellulose photonic materials will be fabricated and optically characterised with different spectroscopic techniques.  The project will be multi-disciplinary, involving a close collaboration with the Departments of Physics and Plant Sciences.

Applicants should have obtained (or be about to obtain) an honours degree (at least equivalent to a UK II.1) and preferably a Masters in physics, chemistry, or other relevant subject, and should be self-motivated, with a strong interest in working as part of a multi-disciplinary research team. Demonstrated programming skills would also be advantageous.

The studentship provides a maintenance grant and tuition fees at the home/EU rate. Due to funding restrictions applicants must satisfy the eligibility requirements for the Home/EU fees rate. Non-EU nationals can be considered only if they already have the means to cover the fees differential for overseas students.

Also Read  Research Studentship

Applications should include a CV and contact details for two professional referees, and should be sent to Dr Silvia Vignolini, Department of Chemistry, Lensfield Road, Cambridge, CB2 1EW (email:

Please quote reference MA01712 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

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