HDR Scholarship - Antimicrobial surfaces produced by plasma electrolytic oxidation

Applications now open. A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Antimicrobial surfaces produced by plasma electrolytic oxidation'.

Project Supervisor

Additional Supervision


GTP Research


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus

Research topic

Antimicrobial surfaces hinder the growth of microorganisms and they can be used in a wide range of applications, such as: to reduce the spread of pathogens on public surfaces (elevator buttons, door handles and ATMs), to eliminate biofouling in systems that operate in wet or high humidity conditions (air conditioners, drain filters) and to decrease the incidence of infection after implantation of biomedical devices (plates, pins, screws). The antimicrobial effect can be associated with the presence of an active element (silver, copper, zinc) or by the surface morphology (roughness, pore size). This project will explore the use of plasma electrolytic oxidation (PEO) to create antimicrobial surfaces on aluminium and titanium alloys.

Project aim

The electric discharge conditions will be adjusted to modify the morphology of the treated surfaces. What is more, the surface chemistry of the coatings will be modified by changing the PEO electrolyte composition, either by introducing elements in solution and/or nanoparticles in suspension (Ag, Cu, Zn nanoparticles), and by conducting post treatments in water and in different sealing solutions.

The coatings will be analysed using advanced characterisation techniques (electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, x-ray diffraction, etc.). The antimicrobial activity of the coatings will be assessed using cell cultures. The testing program will also include hardness measurements, scratch resistance and electrochemical corrosion testing to assess the durability of the coatings and their antimicrobial effect.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Sunday 31 October 2021


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $28,900 per annum tax exempt (2022 rate)
  • Relocation allowance of $500-1500 (for single to family) for students moving from interstate
  • International students only:  Tuition fees offset for the duration of 4 years. Single Overseas Student Health Cover policy for the duration of the student visa.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be either a domestic or international candidate currently residing in Australia. Domestic includes candidates with Australian Citizenship, Australian Permanent Residency or New Zealand Citizenship.
  • meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements
  • be enrolling full time and hold an honours degree (first class) or an equivalent standard master's degree with a substantial research component.

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page for further information.

How to apply

Please apply using the Find a Research Supervisor tool


Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Dr Santiago Corujeira Gallo or

Dr Santiago Corujeira Gallo
Email Dr Santiago Corujeira Gallo
+61 3 5247 9378

Dr Julie Sharp
Email Dr Julie Sharp
+61 3 522 71180