Postgraduate research opportunities Development of a spatially resolved spectroscopy probe for application in pharmaceutical drying processes


Key facts

  • Opens: Friday 3 February 2023
  • Number of places: One
  • Duration: 3 years


In this project, the student will be involved in an industrial funded project to develop and use spatially offset Raman spectroscopy (SORS) and spatially resolved diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (SR-DRS) for obtaining insight into sub-surface powder drying behaviour.
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Students applying should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant subject (physics, chemistry, material science or a related subject). Desirable experience in crystallisation, X-ray characterisation, computational, analytical skills, although not essential.

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Project Details

Despite being the most widely studied PAT technologies, to date, most applications of NIR and Raman spectroscopy are carried out using standard measurement geometry without specifying and differentiating spatial arrangement between the incident and collecting optics. Standard NIR and Raman probes include multiple fibres for delivering incident light and/or collecting the spectra, producing spectra correspond to averaged optical response across a probing area. SORS/SR-DRS separate from the standard Raman and NIR reflectance measurement by the probe design and analysis methodology.

The student will be involved in an exciting project funded by a group of pharmaceutical companies to develop a new approach for performing in-line measurement in the pharmaceutical drying process. As part of the project, an innovative SORS/SR-DRS will be developed to provide a complemented information about the physical and chemical information during the drying process.

The project will collaborate with Dr Price’s group to leverage the information gathered and utilise the identified conditions to perform tests on innovative SORS/SR-DRS probe. The student will perform SORS and SR-DRS measurement inline from a drying vessel under a range of drying conditions for combinations of materials and solvents. The collected information will be analysed to develop a robust analysis on estimating particle size distribution and solvent content. Off-line measurements on solvent content and composition will be performed using NMR and GC-MS. The analysis method used for the current SORS and SAR-DRS systems will form the benchmark method and inform the development of an analysis strategy for the proposed SORS/SR-DRS probe. The project is an excellent opportunity for candidates who like to work in a team to develop novel solution with direct influence to address significant industrial challenges.

In addition to undertaking cutting edge research, students are also registered for the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Development (PGCert), which is a supplementary qualification that develops a student’s skills, networks and career prospects.

Information about the host department can be found by visiting:

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Funding details

This PhD project is initially offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with their own funding, or those applying to funding sources. However, excellent candidates will be eligible to be considered for University scholarship.

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Dr Yi-chieh Chen

Senior Lecturer
Chemical and Process Engineering

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Professor Chris John Price

Chair In Industrial Crystallisation
Chemical and Process Engineering

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During the application you'll be asked for the following information and evidence uploaded to the application:

  • your full contact details
  • transcripts and certificates of all degrees
  • proof of English language proficiency if you are not from a majority English-speaking country as recognised by UKVI
  • two references, one of which must be academic. Please see our guidance on referees
  • funding or scholarship information
  • international students must declare any previous UK study

By filling these details out as fully as possible, you'll avoid any delay to your application being processed by the University.

Useful resources

Number of places: One

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Chemical and Process Engineering

Programme: Chemical and Process Engineering

Start date: Oct 2023 - Sep 2024

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