Modelling plasma synthesis of nanoparticles for non-invasive diagnosis and targeted treatment of disease

Summary

This project will develop multiphysics models of a low temperature capacitively coupled plasma reactor to engineer functionalised nanoparticles for biomedical applications.This project will develop multiphysics models of plasma surface treatment to enable the creation of prosthetic implants with controllable surface properties and long-term biostability.  
The Applied Physics and Plasma Surface Engineering group is seeking applications from highly motivated PhD candidates with strong communication skills, a demonstrated ability to work independently, and a desire to make meaningful contribution to state-of-the-art biomedical and plasma technologies. Potential candidates with backgrounds in plasma physics, computational fluid dynamics/finite element modelling, nanotechnology, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, or surface engineering are encouraged to apply. Selected candidates will be supported to apply for suitable scholarships where eligible.  
A complimentary scholarship for this project may be available through a competitive process. To find out more, refer to the Faculty of Science Postgraduate Research Excellence Award and contact Prof Marcela Bilek directly.

Supervisor(s)

Professor Marcela Bilek, Dr Mark Baldry

Research Location

School of Physics

Program Type

PHD

Synopsis

Nanomedicine promises a range of therapeutic functions including targeted drug delivery and new diagnostic techniques, due to the ability of nanoparticles to carry molecules into cells. We are developing the technology to engineer nanoparticles capable of delivering drugs to specific targets, such as tumours, whilst being monitored non-invasively. 
These nanoparticles are synthesised in our lab from organic materials using radio frequency capacitively coupled plasma. Strict control of the plasma properties is necessary to produce nanoparticles with the desired properties, whilst an effective method to collect the nanoparticles from the reactor gases is also critical. 
This multidisciplinary project will offer candidates the opportunity to develop and optimise finite element models of the complex physical phenomena occurring within an experimental capacitively coupled plasma reactor. Plasma dynamics will be investigated using drift-diffusion and heavy species transport models to understand the strong spatial and temporal gradients formed during operation, whilst fluid-particle models will be used to monitor the behaviour of fluid-entrained nanoparticles subjected to a range of forces within the plasma.
Candidates will work closely with experimentalists to apply the knowledge gained from the modelling to guide nanoparticle synthesis and collection experiments.

Additional Information

A complimentary scholarship for this project may be available through a competitive process. To find out more, refer to the Faculty of Science Postgraduate Research Excellence Award and contact Prof Marcela Bilek directly.  
HDR Inherent Requirements: In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

  • Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
  • Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
  • Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
  • Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
  • Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
  • Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
  • Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
  • Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
  • Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
  • Hold a current scuba diving license;
  • Hold a current Working with Children Check;
  • Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)
You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

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Keywords

plasma, physics, nanoparticles, nanotechnology, Computational Fluid Dynamics, applied physics, Modelling, COMSOL Multiphysics, biomedical engineering, medical devices, scholarship

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 2819

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