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Self-Assembly in Deep Eutectic Solvents

Important description
Deep Eutectic Solvents (DES) resemble ionic liquids but are formed from an ionic mixture instead of being a single ionic compound. Hydrogen bonding between the two components lead to a large reduction in freezing point meaning the mixture is liquid at room temperature. DES share, with ionic liquids, properties which make them highly desirable as “green solvents”, however DES can be made from common cheap, non-toxic species, unlike ionic liquids which are usually based on highly toxic nitrogen containing cations. In this project we will investigate the self-assembly of surfactant micelles in DES. Although surfactant micelles are commonly used in water to template porous materials such as silica, many other materials of potential interest cannot be synthesised in such solutions due to the reactivity of the inorganic precursors with water. DES in general have been shown to be good solvents for a range of inorganic precursors, used currently in electroplating. DES may therefore also provide an environment where micellar templates can assemble but which allow slower reaction rates for inorganic species and so greater control over the nanomaterials produced. However, so far no work has been reported on micelle formation in DES so the initial task in this project will be to study the properties of a range of micelles in DES, and understand the changes observed when small amounts of water are added. This is a multidisciplinary project combining physical chemical techniques for nanostructure characterisation with some modelling and development of sample environment. The DES and micelles will be characterized using surface tension, viscosity, light scattering, thermal behaviour (DSC), and via small angle neutron and X-ray scattering. Wide angle neutron scattering, quasielastic neutron scattering and molecular modelling will be used to study the DES solvent structure and effects of water addition. X-ray and neutron reflectivity will be used to probe surfactant structures at the surface of DES solutions. We also plan to build sample cells for the neutron experiments which will allow water addition to a sample during a measurement and help to design a cell for simultaneous DSC and scattering measurements. Since this is a collaborative project between the UK and Sweden the student will spend part of their PhD working in Sweden in the European Spallation Source laboratories in Lund. The student will also be expected to travel to neutron and synchrotron X-ray facilities in the UK, France and possibly the USA or Australia as part of their PhD work. http://www.bath.ac.uk/study/pg/department/chemistry/

Eligibility and other criteria

Application deadline
* June 1, 2014

Additional information, and important URL

The available funding will cover fees for a UK/EU based student, and a standard UK PhD stipend to cover living expenses for 3.5 years. Students from outside the UK/EU must be able to cover the cost of overseas student fees to be able to be considered for this position. A first class or 2:1 degree (or equivalent) in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials or Physics is required. The studentship is available to start from June 2014 but must start by 1st Oct 2014. The position will remain open until filled. http://www.bath.ac.uk/study/pg/department/chemistry/

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