Testing and cleaning water with fluorescent polymers

About the project or challenge area

In this project, new materials will be created for the dual task of detecting well-known, problematic pollutants (e.g., the herbicide paraquat), and for simultaneously removing them from water in a “detect+decontaminate” objective. Polymers known as “polymers of intrinsic microporosity” (PIMs) combine easy and scalable preparation, a high surface area, and solvent processability which allows the preparation of films and membranes. In addition to that, some PIMs are also fluorescent, which gives them a transduction mechanism to work as chemical sensors. This project aims to demonstrate sensing properties of PIMs, and to show that they outperform similar small molecules. Proving the advantageous sensing properties of PIMs will pave the way to new applications of these materials in monitoring of liquid or air-based samples, for example for environment monitoring or public safety.

Why choose this opportunity?

This project is a blend of synthetic chemistry, characterisation and sensing experiments (computational chemistry can be added if interested), and you will gain numerous useful practical and theoretical skills which will be extremely valuable for your future professional endeavours. You will be based at the School of Chemistry, and you will have the opportunity to collaborate with leading researchers in materials research. You will work in close collaboration with researchers in the groups of Dr Rochat, which will give you the opportunity to share ideas and skills with people possessing a broad diversity of technical backgrounds. You will receive all necessary technical training by area specialists, and develop valued skills such as presentation, scientific writing, and project or time management. Finally, we strive to create a friendly and nurturing research environment where you can be certain to find all necessary support during the course of your project.

About you

Full training will provided for all aspects of this project, only basic knowledge in synthetic chemistry is desireable. In addition to your supervisor you will be surrounded by PhD students or postdocs for the duration of your project, who will provide support and help you to identify any additional training needs or opportunities.

Bench fees

A bench fee of £4,000 is required. A small number of School of Chemistry Bench fee bursaries are available to part-cover bench fees. 

How to apply

All students can apply using the button below, following the Cabot Masters by Research Admission Statement. Please note that this is an advertised project, which means you only have to complete Section A of the Research Statement.

Before applying, we recommend getting in touch with the project's supervisors. If you are interested in this project and would like to learn more about the research you will be undertaking, please use the contact details on this page.


Your supervisor for this project will be Sébastien RochatDean's Fellow and Lecturer in Functional Materials in the Faculty of Engineering. You can contact him at .

Find out more about your prospective research community

The Water theme is a vibrant community of researchers who are transforming the evidence base for water-based decision making in a changing and deeply uncertain world. Find out more about the Water research theme.

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