Study As
Full Time

Principal Supervisor
Associate Professor Marta Krasowska

Main Campus
Mawson Lakes

Applications Close
04 Oct 2022

Study Level

Applications Open To
Domestic Candidate or International Candidate

Tuition Fees:
All domestic students are eligible for a fee waiver. International students who receive a stipend are eligible for a fee waiver. Find out more about fees and conditions.

Project Stipend:
$28,854 p.a. available to domestic and international applicants

About this Project

This project aims to study the formation and pattern of ultra-thin films, so called precursor films, formed by ionic liquids (IL). Ionic liquids have emerged as ‘designer’ liquids in many applications including tribology for challenging mechanical contacts. Their unique properties such as high thermal stability, negligible volatility, non-flammability and high conductivity, mean they can be used as lubricants in high-end applications such as MEMS/NEMS, wind turbines, and aerospace applications, where oil-based lubricants fail. In addition, ILs can form stable ordered layers and protective tribo-films at solid surfaces, further reducing friction and wear. This project intends to use atomic force microscopy imaging and Synchrotron based x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy to correlate the molecular orientation of ionic liquids with the pattern type, and finally with the tribological performance of precursor films.

This project is expected to generate new intellectual property (IP), and extend the current technology towards the next generation of permanent conductive lubricants, leading to future patent(s).

What you’ll do

This research degree project will set you up with expert knowledge including physical and synthetic chemistry, as well as advanced characterisation providing opportunities for employment in advanced manufacturing and materials engineering sectors.  Upon completion of this project you will be a highly trained and diversely skilled graduate, with broad experience and employability across the science, advanced materials and product development sectors.

The PhD student will be mentored by a group of passionate scientists with various scientific backgrounds. They will work in a dynamic research environment and have ample opportunity to attend conferences and workshops related to interfacial and colloid science as well as food chemistry, travel permitted.

Where you’ll be based

You will work closely with theoretical colleagues on the same project. You’ll be part of the Surface Interactions and Soft Matter (SISM) group in the Future Industries Institute (FII) at Mawson Lakes, and you’ll also interact with the Mathematical Modelling group, as well as the Applied Chemistry and Translational Biomaterials (ACTB) group. You’ll also will also work with the external supervisor at the University of Western Australia and his group and the supervisors' wider group of collaborators outside UniSA, in Australia and internationally. Part of your PhD research will be performed at ANSTO Australian Synchrotron ( in Melbourne.

Supervisory Team
Financial Support

This project is funded for reasonable research expenses. Additionally, a living allowance scholarship of $28,854 per annum is available to eligible applicants. Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander applicants will be eligible to receive an increased stipend rate of $45,076 per annum. A fee-offset or waiver for the standard  term of the program is also included. For full terms and benefits of the scholarship please refer to our scholarship information for domestic students or international students.

Eligibility and Selection

This project is open to application from both domestic and international applicants. Due to extended visa delays, applicants from Iran and Pakistan are not invited to apply at this time.

Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for entrance into a PhD. Additionally, applicants must meet the projects selection criteria:

  • An undergraduate degree in chemistry or material science
  • High level written and verbal communication skills
  • Capacity to meet deadlines and manage competing demands to meet project milestones
Applicant who can also demonstrate the following will be highly regarded:
  • Peer-reviewed publications
All applications that meet the eligibility and selection criteria will be considered for this project. A merit selection process will be used to determine the successful candidate.

The successful applicant is expected to study full-time and to be based at our Mawson Lakes Campus in the north of Adelaide. Note that international students on a student visa will need to study full-time.

Essential Dates

Applicants are expected to start in a timely fashion upon receipt of an offer.  Extended deferral periods are not available.  Applications close on Tuesday. 4th October.

How to apply:

Applications must be lodged online, please note UniSA does not accept applications via email.

For further support see our step-by-step guide on how to apply , or contact the Graduate Research team on +61 8 8302 5880, option 1 or email us at You will receive a response within one working day.

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