Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy


Applications are invited for a self-funded PhD.

In this PhD project you will integrate surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) with an LFI platform for POC diagnostics using size-controlled Raman reporter-tagged gold nanoparticle clusters. The lateral flow immunoassay (LFI) is a widely used platform for rapid detection of targets in many fields including medical systems, environment monitoring, food analysis, and beyond. LFI meets the demands of point-of-care (POC) testing largely because of its speed, cost-effectiveness, and user-friendliness. However, limited sensitivity can hinder performance. Raman reporter molecules that are attached to the surface of nanoparticles experience a significant SERS response, due to a combination of electromagnetic and chemical enhancement effects. By utilising this phenomenon, detection sensitivity for small molecules can be significantly improved by more than an order of magnitude.

Due to the nature of this PhD, there is scope to tailor the precise investigations of this PhD to match the interests and experiences of the PhD candidate. Candidates who have an interest and funding in place, are encouraged to enquire for further information.

Masters level students are encouraged to apply. If you have a strong Bachelor’s degree or have relevant experience (e.g., prior project experience, work experience, publications, demonstrable interest in the topic, etc.), you are also encouraged to apply. In exceptional circumstances those with a non-traditional educational background will be considered dependent upon relevant experience. Applicants will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

If you are interested, please email Prof Simon Maher ( with the project title in the subject of your email and include a copy of your CV.

Note: this is a self-funded project and requires that the applicant has their own source of funding (e.g., government scholarship, self-funding). Details about University of Liverpool PhD tuition fees can be found on the website: Postgraduate Research - University of Liverpool.


Please note: this project is open to applications year-round until a suitable candidate is found - therefore the listed deadline may be subject to change.


Open to students worldwide

Funding information

Self-funded project

The project is open worldwide, to applicants of any nationality. Please note that this position is unfunded. Therefore, it is required that any applicant should have a funding source in place (e.g., government scholarship, self-funding), in which case they are encouraged to contact the Principal Supervisor directly to discuss their application and the project.

The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for tuition fees and their living expenses, as well as a research bench fee of approximately £1250 per year.

Details regarding the PhD tuition fees (i.e., postgraduate research) can be found on the University website.