Funded CAST(Co-operative Awards in science and Technology) Award

Applicants are invited to undertake a 3 year PhD program in partnership with a global manufacturer of  leading-edge health care systems. The project will involve the development of a scalable skin-attachable electrochemical sensor that is capable of detecting important analytes such as glucose and urea, in human perspiration. The growing field of wearable sensors aims to tackle the limitations of centralised healthcare by giving individuals insight into the dynamics of their own physiology. The long-term vision is to develop sensors that can be integrated into wearable skin formats like wristbands or patches to continuously probe a range of body’s vital signs.

By conveying physiological information as the body evolves over healthy and ailing states, these sensors will enable users to monitor themselves without resorting to expensive equipment or trained professionals. The sensor will be based on laser induced graphene (LIG) directly formed on commercially available (e.g. polyimide) or appropriately developed flexible substrates by direct laser writing with a CO2 laser.  The LIG has a conductive porous morphology suitable for biosensing.  On its own right, the method is versatile since it can be adapted to existing commercial platforms  for directly  “writing” graphene, thus surpassing other chemical or lithography based  methods.

The research student will fabricate flexible electrode sensor structures using laser induced graphene based structures and will develop detection strategies for the evaluation of glucose and urea analytes in artificial sweat and real sweat.  S/he will use state-of-the-art facilities in the Nanotechnology and Integrated Bioengineering Centre (NIBEC) of Ulster and will work as part of a larger project research team of established researchers and PhD students working in advanced materials and wearable sensors.

The project is supported by a global leader in healthcare. The student will be trained in the fields of electrochemical biosensing, laser microfabrication, ink-jet printing, materials characterisation and polymer device fabrication.

The candidate applying for this PhD project should have interest in biomedical sensing (electrochemical sensing and  sensor fabrication) as well as in aspects related to nanomaterials (e.g. synthesis, properties, characterization, laser processing etc.). Applications are particularly encouraged from graduates of Chemistry, Physics, Materials Science,  Engineering, Biochemistry, Biological/Biomedical Sciences or a closely related discipline.

Entrance Requirements: This post is available for UK,  European Union and overseas students. Candidates should hold a first or upper second class honours degree in Engineering, Physical Sciences, or a cognate area. Applications will be considered on a competitive basis with regard to the candidate’s qualifications, skills experience and interests.  Successful candidates will enrol in September 2019, on a full-time programme of research studies leading to the award of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, upon successful performance.

This 3 year PhD programme, commencing in September 2019  comes with a highly attractive annual stipend of £20,100 with all fees covered.

Essential criteria

  • To hold, or expect to achieve by 15 August, an Upper Second Class Honours (2:1) Degree or equivalent from a UK institution (or overseas award deemed to be equivalent via UK NARIC) in a related or cognate field.

This project is funded by: a global leader in healthcare

The Doctoral College at Ulster University