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The art of printing applied to metallic ceramics

Project Description

In an era where control plays a key role, the manipulation of matter at the nanoscale can give an answer to many application requirements. 
Alongside physical approaches, which enable high precision but rarely allows to build up systems below the submicron scale, the so called bottom-up approaches represent a valid alternative for the molecular construction of hierarchical structure at the nanoscale1. In particular, to keep high precision, printing technique coupled with a sol-gel method can be effective in controlling material deposition and patterning2. This “control” is especially important for materials that are otherwise intrinsically difficult to shape, such as ceramics (including the so-called metallic ceramics). Metallic ceramics are well-known for their good mechanical properties (hardness, toughness), thermal and chemical resistance, etc3. However, these qualities make difficult to “manipulate” them. This PhD project aims at circumventing this drawback by implementing printing techniques with solution processes.

The project is divided in 3 main parts: 
1. Preparation of functional inks, via novel sol-gel synthesis. 
2. Controlled nanoparticles deposition on designed supports. 
3. Processing and testing. 

Each step is implemented by the characterization of the final system. 

The PhD project is intended for 3 years. Within the research project, the PhD candidate will obtain and/or strengthen skills on preparation of nanosized materials and related characterization techniques (classical and advanced), such as: elemental analysis, X-rays diffraction (XRD), transmission and scanning electron microscopy (TEM and SEM) and FT-IR spectroscopy. The ideal candidate should preferably have a physical/colloid chemistry background, experience in synthesis and related research/lab expertise. 

Research Environment

Dr. Giordano’s group has a long-lasting experience in designing tailored strategies for the synthesis of nanoparticles, advanced nanomaterials and hierarchical structures (for more info see Giordano’s web page The group is part of the Material Research Institute of the QMUL (, which represent the ideal platform for dedicated studies on advanced materials, both in terms of equipment and research expertise. The project will be then developed in a multidisciplinary environment and will also be partly accomplished in collaboration with established national and international research groups.

Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) is a member of the Russell group and is one of the leading research-focused institutions in the UK. QMUL has been ranked 9th among multi-faculty institutions in the UK for research impact in the last Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise. All PhD students and Post-doctoral researchers are part of the QMUL Doctoral College, which provides support with high-quality training and career development activities. 


The studentship will cover tuition fees and provide an annual tax-free maintenance allowance for 3 years at Research Councils UK rates £16,553 in 2017/18. Please note that this studentship is only available to UK/EU nationals.

Brexit Note: The UK government has confirmed that EU nationals starting PhD courses in the next academic year (2017-18) will continue to be eligible for for ’home’ fee status for the duration of their study, so therefore will be eligible for this studentship. This will be the case even if the course finishes after the UK has left the European Union. Source: 
For more information, visit our student FAQs page. If you have any further questions, please contact  

Eligibility and Applying

Applicants should hold or expect to receive a first or upper-second class honours degree in an area relevant to the project.

Before submitting an online application, please email Dr. Giordano () your motivation letter describing your scientific backgrounds and your interest in performing this project, alongside your complete CV (including two reference names). 

Formal applications should be submitted by online:

Apply Online


  1. García-Márquez, A., Portehault, D. & Giordano, C.; Chromium nitride and carbide nanofibers: from composites to mesostructures; J. Mater. Chem. 21, 2136 (2011). 
  2. Glatzel, S., Schnepp, Z. & Giordano, C.; From Paper to Structured Carbon Electrodes by Inkjet Printing; Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 52, 2355–2358 (2013). 
  3. Giordano, C. & Antonietti, M.; Synthesis of crystalline metal nitride and metal carbide nanostructures by sol–gel chemistry; Nano Today 6, 366–380 (2011). 
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