Surrey NanoSystems Ltd - Research Assistant - Undergraduate Placement

East Sussex
£20,000 per annum
10 Feb 2017
24 Feb 2017
Contract Type
Industrial Placement
Full Time

Excellent new placement opportunity for a talented Chemistry undergraduate, within a leading business in the nanomaterials industry! 

About the company

Based in East Sussex, the company holds the world record for the blackest material ever created and the blackest spray absorbers. In line with the development of advanced materials, the company operates a modern cleanroom based nanomaterials research and production facility, with capability to grow nanomaterials and nanocatalysts using a range of proprietary plasma systems developed internally. As well as the ability to grow nanomaterials, the company has a very advanced capability in nanostructure characterisation and analysis.
This is a 'hands-on' role with fantastic potential for new scientific learning and creativity. This is the perfect opportunity to make a difference in a role with on-the-job training and where every week will bring a new and exciting challenge. You'll be working in a world class, clean facility with state-of-the-art nanomaterial growth systems and analytical equipment.
Above all, everything you are doing is new, you are literally breaking boundaries and it's down to you to advance this industry changing technology!

Job Purpose

Working with the Vantablack development team on new methods of coating low reflectivity materials with high usability. Composite materials with novel low density polymer layers may be used to introduce hydrophobicity without limiting absorbance in super-black absorber coatings.

It is expected that this project will require the student to develop skills in the following areas:

  • How absorbers work and can be optimised for different wavelengths
  • Formulation chemistry – dispersions, stability, viscosity, applicability
  • Catalysis chemistry - creation and application of nanocatalysts
  • Dry plasma chemistry - etch and functionalization
  • Reflectance spectroscopy UV-FIR
  • Functionalization of nanomaterials
  • Growth of nanomaterials
  • Project management
  • Presentation of data
  • Report writing

Job Accountabilities

As part of the project the student will be expected to undertake literature reviews, develop and communicate findings on potential routes to test, and then run lab trials to confirm which the most suitable solution is. Once a solution has been found the student will take part in developing an understanding of how to commercially scale the process, first to pilot production and then full scale production.

As part of the Vantablack research team they will also get training and exposure to the following:

  • Nanomaterial growth reactors - CVD and PECVD
  • UV-Vis & IR Spectroscopy
  • Raman Spectroscopy
  • SEM
  • PVD barriers and catalysis
  • Formulation chemistry
  • High Shear mixing
  • Viscosity and Turbidity
  • General wet deck and dry deck use
  • Safe chemical handling
  • Operation of a cleanroom

Working with a team of very experienced research scientists and in a nanomaterials research facility is likely to benefit the student on a number of levels:

  • Gain and in depth understanding of the behaviour of carbon nanomaterials and how they are used and scaled up for real world applications. Increase understanding of how analytical techniques are used to develop new materials and coatings: FTIR, RAMAN, CVD, PVD etc.
  • Become confident users of key systems used in coating development and commercialisation, including developing an understanding of health and safety in wet and plasma chemistry
  • Develop presentation and communication skills
  • Learn how to publish results for internal use as well as journals
  • Learn methods of coping with success as well as frustrations when experiments fail or produce unusual results
  • Understanding of basic intellectual property and how this impacts their research
  • Show how science can excite the world around them, and how their input can make a real difference

Relevant Disciplines

UNDERGRADUATES only: Accredited Chemistry Degree course.
For further information regarding accredited courses, please visit:

Additional Information

Please ensure that you are willing and able to live within commutable distance of the company site before applying. This placement is located in East Sussex, with great links to public transport. Cogent Life Science Placements service are managing the recruitment for this placement at our client's request, therefore we ask that applications are made through our website please.

The Royal Society of Chemistry is the world's leading chemistry community, advancing excellence in the chemical sciences. With 51,000 members and a worldwide knowledge business that spans the globe, it is the UK's professional body for chemical scientists; a not-for-profit organisation with 170 years of history and an international vision for the future. The Royal Society of Chemistry as part of its small companies programme, EnterprisePlus ( has granted a small number of companies funding to host a “year in industry” placement. Funding has been awarded in recognition of their ability to develop and mentor an undergraduate chemist and robustness of the project content and structure in terms of its scientific content and  what you will learn. This year, Surrey NanoSystems is a well-deserved recipient of this prestigious funding. It is expected that if you are successful in being selected for this role that you are a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry by the time you start the placement. Royal Society of Chemistry membership is just £19 and you can join online at:


This placement is expected to start summer 2017.

Successful candidates will be invited for Skype interview week commencing 13th March

Please note: only UNDERGRADUATES will be considered for this placement 

Closing date: 24/02/17