Ultrathin Nanostructured Membranes for Efficient Gas Separation

Project Background

All across the world, people are facing a wealth of new and challenging problems, particularly the energy and environmental issues. For example, billions of tons of annual CO2 emissions are the direct result of fossil fuel combustion to generate electricity. Producing clean energy from abundant sources, such as coal, requires a massive infrastructure and highly efficient capture technologies to curb CO2 emissions. In addition to its environmental impact, CO2 also reduces the heating value of the CH4 gas streams in power plants and causes corrosion in pipes and equipment. To minimize the impact of CO2 on the environment, design of high-performance separation materials and technologies for efficient carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is urgent and essential.

Research and Training

The objectives of this PhD project are: 1, fabrication of novel nanostructured membrane materials with enhanced transport properties; 2, development of cost-effective and energy-sustainable methods for membrane scale-up production.

More specifically, this project will focus on the development of ultrathin membranes with desirable properties and microstructures to realize high performance in some important industrial processes, such as, CO2 capture from industrial flue gases, natural gas purification. 2D materials (e.g., graphene oxide, zeolite nanosheets, and 2D metal-organic frameworks) as the potential membrane candidate will be systematically studied in this project. Membrane formation mechanisms will also be elucidated, with the goal of developing predictive models for future membrane preparation. This project will heavily rely on experiments as well as active interdisciplinary collaborations.

The candidate will have chance to work closely with UK-based/international industrial partners, to present latest data in national/international conferences, and, therefore, to delivery high-impact separation technology to the existing membrane society.

Closing Date: 

Friday, August 31, 2018
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Principal Supervisor: 


Minimum entry qualification - an Honours degree at 2:1 or above (or International equivalent) in a relevant science or engineering discipline, possibly supported by an MSc Degree.

Students with background in the selected disciplines are encouraged to apply:

  • Chemical Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Materials/Chemical Science
  • Chemistry
  • A related subject with strong materials chemistry content

Previous research experience in nanomaterials synthesis, adsorption, or membrane separation is highly desirable.  

Further information on English language requirements for EU/Overseas applicants.


Tuition fees and stipend are available for Home/EU students (International students can apply, but the funding only covers the Home/EU fee rate). Applications are also welcomed from self-funded students, or students who are applying for scholarships from the University of Edinburgh or elsewhere.

Further information and other funding options.

Informal Enquiries: