Current PhD vacancies are listed below. See the postgraduate pages for more information on our PhD programmes.
- Modelling electron collision and surface reactions in technological plasma
A studentship is available as part of the UCL Centre for Doctoral Training in Molecular Modelling & Materials Science to work with UCL spin-out company Quantemol Ltd. The studentship will commence in September 2016.
The project will involve theoretical studies of electron - molecule collisions using the R-matrix method and calculations of surface reactions, with an emphasis on processes important for plasmas used in the manufacturing of semiconductor devices (i.e. microchips).
The studentship is available for 4 years, which cover fees and stipend (~£17557 per annual, tax free). Applications are welcomed from UK/EU nationals, who have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years preceding their start on the programme, or those have indefinite leave to remain in the UK. The candidates should have a good degree in physics, chemistry or a close-related discipline, and high level computer skills.
- Solar hydrogen generation over rutile/anatase TiO2 (closing date: 15/07/16)
A 4 year Eng Doc studentship is available in the Centre for Doctoral Training in Molecular Modelling and Materials Science, UCL (www.m3s.ucl.ac.uk).
The studentship will commence in September 2016. Titania surfaces have been widely explored as photocatalytic and photovoltaic materials for many years. This is one means of harnessing solar energy. Despite the large effort that has explored empirical optimisation, little progress has been made to increase the efficiency of the devices. As for the possibility of rational design, an atomistic understanding of the key processes that limit performance is still lacking. Of particular interest is the relative activity of the rutile and anatase polymorphs of TiO2. The anatase phase is thought to be the more active, and various ideas have been put forward to explain this phenomenon such as the indirect band gap of anatase. Nevertheless, the most effective powder samples for photocatalysis are a mixture of anatase and rutile. This project, which involves the major petrochemical company SABIC, will explore the origin of this synergy.
Nanoscale interfaces between rutile and anatase will be prepared using a method recently devised in a UCL/SABIC collaboration. This involves 3 keV e-beam disruption of an anatase TiO2(101) surface followed by an STM tip pulse to re-order the surface as rutile TiO2(110). Other methods of forming an interface will also be explored. The interface will be studied by scanning tunneling microscopy for comparision with calculations by a collaborating theory group. Comparative photochemical reactions will be studied on anatase, rutile and interfaces, for instance water dissociation. The methods to be used to investigate the enhance photoatalytic activity are high-resolution electron energy loss spectroscopy (HREELS), temperature programmed desorption (TPD), and XPS in addition to STM.
The student will spend up to two months a year at SABIC engaged in project experiments employing STM, XPS and TPD.
Due to funding restrictions, this studentship is only open to applicants from the UK and EU, who have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years preceding their start on the programme or have indefinite leave to remain in the UK. The candidates should have, or expect to gain, a good honours degree (first or upper second) in a relevant subject, e.g. physics, chemistry, or materials science. The group website is http://www.ucl.ac.uk/chemistry/research/group_pages/nano.
Please direct applications and enquiries regarding this project to Prof Geoff Thornton (email@example.com) as soon as possible.
The deadline for applications: 15th July 2016
- Magnetism and spin-orbit coupling in thin-film topological materials
In this four years EngD studentship project, which will be based in Centre for Doctoral Training Molecular Modelling and Materials Science, UCL, we will combine the thin film growth and structural characterisation expertise of the group of Chris Nicklin (CN) at the Diamond Light Source with the atomic-scale electronic and magnetic characterisation capabilities of the group of Cyrus F. Hirjibehedin (CFH) at UCL to study the properties of bare topological insulators as well as those doped with atomic and molecular magnetic adsorbates.
A broad class of TI materials will be prepared by CN’s group in collaboration with other leading UK groups. Particular attention will be paid to the achieving the highest quality intrinsic TI states by tuning, for example, the growth parameters as well as exploring different substrates for the films. After their initial structural characterisation, the most promising candidates will be explored by STM, first at room temperature at Diamond and then at low temperatures and in high magnetic fields at UCL. These latter studies will probe the dispersive behaviour of scattered surface states, and can access both filled and empty states with atomic-level resolution. Furthermore, analysis of the scattering by adsorbed magnetic defects and the development of Landau levels in a magnetic field will provide additional understanding of the topologically non-trivial nature of the material as well as possible evidence for novel quantum phenomena.
Due to funding restrictions, this studentship is only open to applicants from the UK and EU, who have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years preceding their start on the programme or have indefinite leave to remain in the UK. The candidates should have, or expect to gain, a good honours degree (first or upper second) in a relevant subject, e.g. physics, chemistry, or materials science.
For additional information, please contact Dr Cyrus Hirjibehedin – firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Understanding the Mechanochemical Synthesis of Mixed Oxides using Synchrotron and Neutron Techniques
We are looking to recruit a PhD student for a high-profile EPSRC funded CASE award in partnership with Johnson Matthey Technology Centre. The position will be based at the UK Catalysis Hub, Harwell, Oxfordshire. The UK Catalysis Hub is a new EPSRC initiative aimed at coordinating UK efforts in catalytic science, with the laboratories at the Research Complex at Harwell (RCaH) providing the physical base for this network. This is a unique opportunity to engage with leading UK academics in catalytic science, alongside exposure to the advanced characterisation techniques made possible by the synchrotron and neutron source on the Harwell Campus.
The mechanochemical synthesis of mixed oxides is of interest within Johnson Matthey as a potential new route to the manufacture of materials. The mechanism of the transformation of reagents to active phases under mechanical action will be explored using model and real materials and reference synthesis routes giving an understanding of how key phases are formed and what the key parameters are for synthesis.
Applicants should have a good honours degree (at least 2.1) or equivalent in Chemistry, or a related discipline. Due to funding restrictions only UK/EU students are eligible to apply. The project will be under the supervision of Dr Peter Wells (http://www.rc-harwell.ac.uk/team-members1), who is the Associate Director of the Harwell component of the UK Catalysis Hub. Although based at Harwell full-time, the student will be registered at University College London and will have access to the excellent postgraduate courses available within the University.
If you wish to apply for this unique opportunity or find out more information please get in touch with Dr Peter Wells (email@example.com).
- Synthesis of Janus nanoparticles for self-assembly and nanomotors (closing date: 31/07/16)
Fully funded 3-year PhD studentship (full time)
PhD supervisor: Dr. Tung Chun Lee
Application deadline: 31 July 2016
Start date: any time between September 2015 and September 2016
Location: Institute for Materials Discovery, University College London (UCL)
Topics: nanoparticles, nanomotors, supramolecular chemistry, dynamic light scattering, electron microscopy
Janus nanoparticles, named after the two-face Roman God, are nanoparticles (d < 100 nm) with two chemically distinct faces. Their inherent asymmetry and hybrid nanostructure give rise to a number of exotic physical and chemical properties, including coupling of excited states, amphiphilicity and non-Brownian motility. This interdisciplinary PhD project aims to develop an efficient synthetic scheme for making and functionalising novel Janus nanoparticles (JNPs), in particular metal-dielectric JNPs and metal-semiconductor JNPs. Optical properties, self-assembly processes and self-propulsion behaviour of the resultant JNPs will then be investigated in detail. Success of the project will lead to new fundamental insight into anisotropic nanosystems which can have implications in sensing, stimuli-responsive materials and nanomotors. The student will have a chance to acquire hands-on experience in state-of-the-art characterisation techniques, e.g. UV-vis-NIR spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering, nanoparticle tracking analysis and electron microscopy.
The successful applicant should have or expect to achieve 1st or 2:1 class integrated Master degree (MSci, MChem, etc) or 2:2 minimum BSc plus stand-alone Master degree with merit (or international equivalent) in Chemistry, Physics, Materials Science or a related discipline. The applicant should demonstrate strong interest and self-motivation in the subject, good experimental practice, ability to think analytically and creatively, together with good presentation and writing skills in English. Previous experience in nanoparticle synthesis and characterisation and in working under an interdisciplinary research environment is highly desirable but not necessary, as training will be provided.
Please contact Dr. Tung Chun Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further details or to express an interest.
Applications will be accepted until 31 July 2016. However, the recruitment will cease as soon as a suitable candidate is found.
Please note that due to funding restrictions only UK/EU citizens are eligible for this studentship.
- Antibacterial Compounds
There is a strong demand to develop new powerful bacteria-killing agents because antibiotic resistance is rising and the existing repertoire of active compounds is dwindling. This PhD project will take advantage of recent research in chemical biology to produce new antibacterial compounds that target and lyse bacterial membrane.
This will be achieved by developing nanoscale pores that specifically interact and puncture the membranes. The pores will be chemically modified with lipid anchors for selective insertion into bilayers, and will be composed of short nucleic acids strands so as to tune the size and activity of the pores.
This is a multidisciplinary project incorporating elements of chemical biology and nanobiotechnology, and the student will gain considerable experience in a range of techniques including nucleic acids chemistry, rational design of DNA nanostructures, and microbiological and biophysical analysis.
Interested candidates are encouraged to informally contact Dr Stefan Howorka (email@example.com) to discuss the project, and can apply formally following instructions in the link:
Early application is encouraged as the position will be filled (for a September 2016 start date) as soon as a suitable candidate is identified.