Location University of Technology Sydney, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology
App. deadline Applications accepted year round/until filled
  • Scholarship available
Eligibility Open to international applicants

Studying Single Aerosol Nucleation using Optical Tweezers

PhD Opportunities in Optical Manipulation, Aerosol Science and Optical Fibre Based Imaging

The following PhD project is available for both domestic and international students starting in early 2019 to work with Prof. David McGloin in a newly established laboratory at the University of Technology Sydney. The goals of the lab are to develop new optical instrumentation with applications in light-matter interactions, aerosol science, biophotonics and imaging.


Scholarships are tax-free and valued at $27,082 pa (indexed annually) for 3 years.

Top-up scholarships, up to a maximum value of $12,000pa (for 3 years), may also be allocated to exceptional domestic candidates awarded competitive scholarships. Additionally, fee-waiver scholarships are available for highly qualified international candidates.


The ideal candidate will have a strong honours degree or equivalent in an area such as physics, photonics, physical chemistry, environmental engineering, electronic engineering or other related backgrounds.

Contact Details

For information about any of the projects and details on how to apply please contact David McGloin david.mcgloin@uts.edu.au

Closing dates:

Australian Domestic students: 30th April 2019

International Candidates: 15th January (contact me if looking for an earlier start date)


Studying Single Aerosol Nucleation using Optical Tweezers

Ice formation in the atmosphere plays a significant role in many processes, including, for example, helping to keep the Earth cool by reflecting incoming solar radiation. A detailed understanding of the process at the single droplet level remains incomplete, however.

In this project the aim will be to develop single particle techniques to observe and probe droplet nucleation using optical manipulation and optical spectroscopy. It will involve the development of a cooling system that enables both homogeneous and heterogeneous freezing of microscopic and nanoscopic particles to be explored in a completely controlled environment. A focus will be on implementing optical manipulation techniques that can trap both transparent and opaque materials and on developing strategies to control orientation of absorbing particles to facilitate contact nucleation studies.

In parallel to this, the project will also examine freezing of bulk samples, including developing previous work on hydrocarbons and biofuel analogues, making use of Raman spectroscopy. It will also examine the ability of optical manipulation tools to explore nucleation in microfluidic environments.

Other Opportunities
Other projects may be possible in the general area of optical manipulation, optical beam shaping, THz beamshaping, aerosol microfluidics, optical microscopy, cellular mechanobiology, Raman spectroscopy, computational microscopy. Contact Prof. McGloin for more info.

About the Faculty

The Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology at UTS is a world-class faculty with a growing reputation for its quality and impact. Our research is highly advanced, industry-focused and part of the lively and rigorous research culture at UTS.  

Focused on 'practical innovation', our researchers are pioneering research solutions with real-world impact. They're recognised leaders in their fields, responsible for delivering new, better and more cost-effective innovative solutions to current national and international challenges.

Over the last five years, the Faculty has received more than 60 Australian Research Council projects and attracted a total research funding well in excess of $30 million.

About the University

UTS is a dynamic and innovative university in central Sydney. One of Australia’s leading universities of technology, UTS has a distinct model of learning, strong research performance and a leading reputation for engagement with industry and the professions.

UTS has a culturally diverse campus life and vibrant international exchange study and research programs that prepare graduates for the workplaces of today and the future.

Our world leading research centres span a range of disciplines, including physical, biological and engineering sciences, and contemporary fields such as design, nanotechnology and sustainability. Our researchers provide practical and relevant solutions to issues of national and international importance and equip graduates with the latest discipline specific skills and practices.

We also maintain strong relationships with the local community, industry, business and the professions through a wide range of partnerships, projects and events.




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Further Information / Application Enquiries

Prof David McGloin