Department of Physics


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Post Doctoral Research Fellow - Nanofluids


The University of Auckland is home to New Zealand's largest Department of Physics. Our students and scientists explore the fundamental properties of the physical world, and tackle problems ranging from searching for planets around other stars to developing new medical imaging devices and laser technologies.

Postdoctoral funding is available for an exciting and challenging project for developing and studying nanofluidic apparatus. The Postdoc will aspire to world-first scientific developments while also contributing directly to commercially applied biotechnology. The position is available early to mid- 2014, is based in the Departments of Physics and Chemistry at the University of Auckland, collaborating with the Medical Device Technology team at Callaghan Innovation.

The project has dual aims involving practical tools for studying fluids flowing in and around nanoscale objects. Tunable nanopores are among the few nanofluidic tools that are currently available, and we have considerable experience with these pores in the form of the qNano instrument commercialized by Izon Science (Christchurch, NZ). The qNano can detect and characterize colloidal particles (~100 nm diameter) using resistive pulse sensing. We will use this instrument to monitor the binding of a bio-ligand to its immune-target, and to develop this detection process into a commercially viable detection procedure. In doing so, our fundamental understanding of confined fluidic environments will be developed. Bioconjugation and biodetection work will be well supported by Prof. Jadranka Travas-Sejdic’s group in the Department of Chemistry, who have significant experience in that field.

Secondly, we will study “nanoaspiration”, the capillary uptake of femtolitre liquid volumes, building on our studies of microscale droplet capillarity. To do so, we will explore the use of pores, pipettes and channels. Challenges will include aligning the capillary with the drop, and measuring the uptake process. This work would represent a significant advance in physical chemistry, and could be immediately applied to physical characterisation or transport of the femtolitre droplet.

The project will be challenging, requiring an applicant with a PhD in a physical sciences discipline and excellent command of written and spoken English. Experimental experience in analytical chemistry, microfluidics or nanofluidics would be an advantage. There will be collaboration throughout the micro- and nanofluidics communities, and the project is affiliated to the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology (www.macdiarmid.ac.nz). Funding is supplied by grants from New Zealand’s Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment and a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

Contact:  Dr Geoff Willmott

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