Study level


Master of Philosophy


Vacation research experience scheme


Science and Engineering Faculty

School of Chemistry and Physics

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Nathan Boase
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


Optoacoustic imaging is a new medical imaging technique. It utilises laser light to excite an imaging agent, which in turn converts this light energy into heat. This heat is dissipated as a sound wave, which can be detected with an ultrasound receiver. This technique aims to overcome the minimal penetration depth of fluorescence imaging, and the lack of molecular specificity of ultrasound.

In this project we are aiming to develop and synthesize intelligent imaging agents for optoacoustics, which are able to switch their signal on and off according to a biological cue.

Research activities

As part of this research topic, you'll be tasked with:

  • learning and gaining experience in controlled chemical techniques to synthesise polymeric materials with defined composition and architecture
  • learning and gaining experience in synthetic organic chemistry techniques, used to synthesise chromophores and radical molecules.
  • performing advanced analytical techniques
  • learning how to characterise the structure and properties of these materials.


This project will lead to new, small molecule chromophores and/or polymeric materials that are able to switch their optoacoustic signal in response to a biological cue. These molecules will be useful in developing new medical imaging agents for the detection and treatment of diseases, such as cancer.

Skills and experience

This project will suit students who have a passion and enthusiasm for synthetic organic and polymer chemistry.

For Honours, Masters and PhD projects: a degree in chemistry with high level courses in organic chemistry and/or polymer chemistry are required.

For VRES and undergraduate projects: a foundation of at least first year undergraduate level chemistry will be required for this project. Completion of second year organic chemistry is preferable.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact the supervisor for more information.