Manufacturing and characterisation of novel porous phosphate-based glasses

Start date

1 April 2023


4 years

Application deadline

Funding source


Funding information

Full UK tuition fees covered for 4 years. Stipend at £18,609 p.a. increase pending. This studentship is for students with UK or EU-settled status only.


Applications are invited to apply for a 4-year UKRI/EPSRC funded PhD studentship at the University of Surrey in collaboration with the National Physical Laboratory (NPL). In addition to benefitting from training and support at the University of Surrey, the successful candidate will also be enrolled on the Post Graduate Institute for Measurement Science at NPL, accessing training and expertise on metrology.

During your time with us you will in engage in diverse training and have access to expertise giving you a competitive advantage in the next step of your career; by demonstrating how specific technology and products work, and can be developed, being based amongst the best academics and scientists and having access to state-of-the-art facilities.

This PhD project on the synthesis and characterisation of a new class of porous inorganic materials, starting in 2023, will explore novel template strategies based on the sol-gel and coacervation processes for the synthesis of mesoporous phosphate-based glasses (MPG) with exceptionally high surface areas, tunable pore size and distribution. In particular, the proposal aims to synthetize sol-gel MPG with two-dimensional (2D, hexagonal) channels of pores and three-dimensional (3D, cubic) arrangements of interconnected pores in solution by using supramolecular chemistry. Highly porous materials are excellent candidates for biomedical applications, in particular for targeted delivery of therapeutic molecules/ions into the damaged site and simultaneous tissue regeneration (hard and soft). MPG will be embedded with antibacterial metallic ions (e.g. Ag+, Cu2+, Zn2+); ion release and antibacterial activities will be investigated and correlated with the porous structure. Compared to the current state of bioresorbable materials, an ordered arrangement of mesopores will facilitate the absorption and delivery of therapeutic ions and molecules.

Structural and morphological characterization of the mesoporous nanocomposites will be investigated using a multi-technique approach involving surface/pore size and volume analysis via physisorption, thermal analysis, transmission and scanning electron microscopy (TEM/SEM), X-ray diffraction, and X-ray absorption diffraction/spectroscopy at synchrotron radiation facilities.

Spanning across materials science, chemistry, biology and medicine, this proposal is truly multidisciplinary. The PhD candidate will develop a range of complementary skills in fabrication (sol-gel, supramolecular templating, coacervation), antibacterial testing and cutting-edge characterisation techniques in addition to unique training and expertise in measurements at the micro and nanoscale at NPL. The successful applicant will have access to the professional training courses and support offered by NPL’s Postgraduate Institute for Measurement Science (PGI) and Surrey’s Doctoral College.

Related links

The National Physical Laboratory


NPL is the UK's National Metrology Institute, developing and maintaining the national primary measurement standards. The successful candidate will have access to a suite of microstructural characterisation tools and mechanical test systems capable of measurement and characterisation across different length scales. They will also have access to training in metrology and access to facilities and expertise housed at our main Teddington site. 

The PostGraduate Institute for Measurement Science (PGI), based at NPL is a pioneering initiative to equip the UK with an exceptionally skilled workforce ready to tackle real life industrial challenges. The PGI is a leading institute for postgraduate research and training in measurement science. Developed by a strategic collaboration between NPL and the University of Strathclyde and the University of Surrey, the PGI aims to create a step change in industrially relevant postgraduate research and training.

Eligibility criteria

This studentship is for students with UK or EU settled status only.

Candidates must have a first class or 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in a relevant scientific discipline, including biomaterial science, chemistry, physics, chemical engineering and material science and a strong interest in bio/nano/porous materials.

English language requirements

IELTS Academic: Minimum 6.5 overall with 6.0 in writing, or equivalent) or equivalent English language qualification.

How to apply

Applications can be made through the PhD Chemistry page via the “apply" tab.

Please clearly state the studentship title and supervisor on your application.

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Application deadline

Contact details

Daniela Carta

Dr Sofia Marchesini

Dr Tony Fry


Studentships at Surrey

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