Developing (Electro)chemical strategies for ultrasensitive detection of harmful environmental pollutants by means of surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS)

Project Summary: "Contaminants of emerging concern” (CEC) constitute a large group of chemical compounds of suspected harm, or established chemicals that were not previously detectable. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are CECs that have been used in cosmetics, pesticides, food-contact materials, textiles, and firefighting foams for more than 50 years. Prolonged exposure to these widespread, “forever” chemicals can cause adverse health effects to humans. Present analytical techniques are not suitable for decentralised and efficient PFAS detection at environmentally relevant concentrations. The selected graduate student will be studying various surface modification and electrochemical treatment methods, to create nanostructures and molecular functionalities on the surface of nanostructured sensing chips, which will be used to enhance detection of PFAS by SERS.

Requirements: Applicants should have a bachelor’s degree in a related field (e.g., Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, or Physics) with a GPA of B+ or higher. Research experience in a chemical laboratory setting is an asset. Experience in one or more of the following subjects is beneficial: electrochemistry, electroanalytical methods, surface chemistry, and Raman spectroscopy. The successful candidate is expected to be highly collaborative and capable of teamwork in a diverse and interdisciplinary team environment, and to possess excellent technical communications skills (English). Members of historically underrepresented, or equity seeking groups are encouraged to apply.

Timeline: The position is available as early as January 2024.

How To Apply: A formal application must be submitted online at: https://eservices.queensu.ca/apps/sgsapp/. Application deadline is March 1st, 2024. We will continue reviewing after the deadline until the position is filled.

Prior to submitting a formal application for admission, highly motivated candidates can contact Profs. Zhe She or Aris Docoslis to informally inquire about the position or discuss their suitability/eligibility for this project.