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Current PhD vacancies are listed below. See the postgraduate pages for more information on our PhD programmes

 
3- year PhD studentship in Experimental Physical/Materials Chemistry, UCL Department of Chemistry (D/L:30/06/19)

Using state-of-the-art experimental approaches, the aim of this fully funded PhD studentship is to investigate the interface and interplay between water and carbon species in detail. This includes studies into the hydration of hydrophobic species, the formation of clathrate hydrates, the nucleation and crystallization of ice at the carbon interface, and water-desorption processes relevant for atmospheric and cometary environments. The PhD student will be trained in a wide range of characterisation and sample preparation techniques including X-ray and neutron diffraction, Raman / IR spectroscopy, mass spectroscopy, calorimetry, high-pressure experiments, physical vapour deposition and quartz crystal microbalance measurements. The highly interdisciplinary work will benefit from interactions with a wide range of international collaborators and experiments at large scale facilities such as the ISIS neutron source.

Formal applications require the completion of the online application form using the link provided below. In addition, please email a motivation letter, a degree transcript, contact details of two referees and an up-to-date CV directly to Prof. Salzmann (c.salzmann@ucl.ac.uk) who can also be approached for informal inquiries. Full details of the research activities of the Salzmann group at UCL can be found at: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~uccacgs/

UK/EU students are eligible for this studentship, which will cover tuition fees at UK/EU rate plus a stipend (tax free) for three years. The candidates should have, or expect to gain, a good honours degree (first or upper second) in chemistry, physics or a related subject, and an enquiring and rigorous approach to research. Good team-working, observational and communication skills are also essential.  The start date for the PhD position is the 23rd September 2019. The deadline for applications is the 30th of June 2019, but the position will be filled as soon as an appropriate candidate is found. Any admissions queries should be directed to Dr Jadranka Butorac (j.butorac@ucl.ac.uk). Formal applications should be submitted at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/apply.

In situ study of piston deposit formation (D/L:30/06/19)

UCL Chemistry is offering a fully funded 3-year studentship to a highly motivated candidate to start as soon as possible. The studentship will cover tuition fees at UK/EU rate plus a maintenance stipend (tax free) for three years.

The project will be in collaboration with a UK-based company which carries out research into the development of new engine lubricants. The student will carry out his/ her doctoral research at the Research Complex at Harwell but where required will also conduct some of the project at the industrial sponsor’s site.

The aim of the project is to use advanced characterisation methods and in-situ environments in order to understand the process/processes by which deposits form within internal combustion engines.

The ambition of this project is to study the formation process of deposits from engine lubricating oil under in-situ conditions to determine the method by which they form. Previous studies have shown that heating thin films of oil under a flow of oxygen can lead to deposits that relate to those found in real engine environments. Through employing in-situ characterisation methods, including X-ray scatter/ spectroscopy based imaging or optical spectroscopic techniques such as IR, Raman and UV-Vis, lubricant decomposition through to solid deposits of a lubricating oil can be observed. The aim is to ascertain differences in the deposit forming tendencies of lubricants and gain an insight into the mechanism of deposit formation.

The applicants should have, or be expecting to achieve, a first or upper second class Honours degree or equivalent in physics, chemistry or related subject ideally with some experience of lubricants, molecular or solid-state chemistry and/or X-ray/optical spectroscopy methods. 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.

Interested candidates should contact Prof. Andrew M. Beale (Andrew.beale@ucl.ac.uk) with a degree transcript and a motivation letter expressing interest in this project. Informal inquiries are encouraged. Suitable candidates will be required to complete an electronic application form at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/apply. Any admissions queries should be directed to Dr Jadranka Butorac (j.butorac@ucl.ac.uk).

Applications will be accepted until 30 June 2019 but the position will be filled as soon as a suitable candidate has been identified.

Vapour-assisted molecular self-assembly for printable optoelectronics and sensors(D/L:30/04/2019)

Application deadline: 30 April 2019
Start date: 24 September 2019

A fully funded PhD studentship is available to work under the co-supervision of Dr Giorgio Volpe and Dr Matthew Blunt on the experimental development of a controllable printing method to deposit and self-assemble 2 dimensional Covalent Organic Frameworks (2D-COFs).

Two-dimensional covalent–organic frameworks (2D-COFs) are materials that have seen increased interest in recent years because of their potential for technological applications including: optical devices, electrocatalysts and sensors. The directionality and alignment of domains over extended areas within 2D-COF thin-films is particularly important as these structural parameters determine the directional electrical conductivity of the material. However, current methods for 2D-COF thin-film growth (e.g. solvothermal synthesis and solid-vapour phase growth) are intrinsically limited by a lack of flexibility and control over the directionality with which molecules are deposited, and then incorporated within a growing 2D-COF layer. The aim of this project is to develop a novel route to the controlled self-assembly of 2D-COF precursor molecules at liquid-liquid and solid-liquid interfaces for the growth of highly aligned 2D-COF layers. For this purpose, we plan to adapt a method that we have recently devised, where controllable deposits of materials in evaporating droplets can be printed onto a surface via contactless manipulation by means of a local source of solvent vapour. The characterization of the self-assembled structures will be performed with a combination of techniques, including optical microscopy, scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS).

Please visit our group website for more details about our research: https://activematterlab.org

The successful applicant should have or expect to achieve a Masters-level degree (1st or 2:1) in a relevant subject, e.g. Physical Chemistry, Physics, Chemical Engineering, Natural Science or Materials Science, and an interest in working at the interface between different disciplines of physical chemistry, including soft matter and self-assembly. The successful applicant will demonstrate strong interest and self-motivation in the subject, good experimental practice and the ability to think analytically and creatively. Good computer skills as well as presentation and writing skills in English are required. Previous experience in experimental soft matter and programming are desirable.

To apply in first instance, please email a motivation letter, an up-to-date CV and contact details for 2 referees to Dr Giorgio Volpe (g.volpe@ucl.ac.uk) and  Dr Matthew Blunt (m.blunt@ucl.ac.uk) who may also be approached for informal enquires. Ideal starting date: September/October 2019. The application deadline is 30 April 2019 but the position will be closed as soon as a suitable applicant has been selected.

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.

Suitable candidates will be required to complete an electronic application form at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/apply. Any admissions queries should be directed to Dr Jadranka Butorac (j.butorac@ucl.ac.uk).

 

 

 

 
A 4-year EngD studentship in Integrated Microfluidic E-SERS Platform for Biosensing (D/L:30/06/2019)

Application deadline: 30 June 2019

Start date: 23 September 2019

Location: London

Topics: nanomaterials design and fabrication, surface-enhanced Raman scattering, electrochemistry, microfluidics, biosensing

The UCL Centre for Doctoral Training in Molecular Modelling and Materials Science is offering a fully funded studentship to a highly motivated candidate to start in September 2019. The studentship will cover tuition fees at UK/EU rate plus a tax-free maintenance stipend (e.g. £18,277 pa) for four years.  The project will be in collaboration with Camtech Innovations Ltd. in Cambridge. The student will carry out his/her doctoral research mainly in the Lee group at the UCL Bloomsbury Campus. Short-term visits to Camtech to perform microfluidics design and fabrication should be expected. 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.

Electrochemical surface-enhanced Raman scattering (E-SERS) is a powerful analytical technique that combines electrochemical measurements and in situ SERS spectroscopy. E-SERS extends the capability of conventional SERS via selective electrochemical enhancement of specific Raman signals, allowing multiplexed detection of biomolecules (e.g. uric acid) in complex environments. While recent advances in photonic technology has enabled handheld SERS spectrometers, the development of E-SERS sensors remains challenging due to the cumbersome fabrication of integrated plasmonic microchips. This project aims to design and fabricate integrated E-SERS microchips for biosensing applications, which will synergise with other experimental effort led by the Lee group. In particular, E-SERS microchips will be achieved by a combination of photolithography and in situ electrodeposition that allows plasmonic nanostructures to be directly grown within a prefabricated microfluidic device, significantly simplifying the process. The project aims to pave the way towards on-the-spot diagnostics through robust multiplexed sensing of biomarkers in bodily fluids using a handheld standalone device.

Please visit the group website for more details about our research: http://tungchunlee.weebly.com/

The successful applicant should have or expect to achieve a first or upper second class Honours degree or equivalent in Chemistry, Physics, Materials Science, or a related discipline. The successful applicant will demonstrate strong interest and self-motivation in the subject, good experimental practice and the ability to think analytically and creatively. Good computer skills, plus good presentation and writing skills in English, are required. Previous research experience in contributing to a collaborative interdisciplinary research environment is highly desirable but not necessary as training will be provided. Knowledge in advanced data analysis using machine learning techniques is desirable. Please contact Dr. Tung Chun Lee (tungchun.lee@ucl.ac.uk) for further details or to express an interest. Applications will be accepted until 30 June 2019 but the position will be filled as soon as an appropriate candidate is found.

A 3.5-year PhD studentship in Programmable Conducting Polymer Nanocomposites for Printable Sensor Chips (D/L:31/07/2019)

Supervisors: Dr. Tung Chun Lee (UCL), Dr. Ming-Yong Han (IMRE, A*STAR)

Application deadline: 31 July 2019

Start Date: 23 September 2019

Location: London (1.5 years), Singapore (2 years)

Topics: nanomaterials design and synthesis, conducting polymers, supramolecular chemistry, sensing

This position is fully funded by the UCL-A*STAR Collaborative Programme via the Centre for Doctoral Training in Molecular Modelling and Materials Science (M3S CDT) at UCL. The student will be registered for a PhD at UCL where he/she will spend year 1 and the first six months of year 4. The second and third years of the PhD will be spent at the A*STAR Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) in Singapore. The Studentship will cover tuition fees at UK/EU rate plus a maintenance stipend of about £16777 (tax free) pro rata in years 1 and 4. During years 2 and 3, the student will receive a full stipend directly from A*STAR. In addition, A*STAR will provide the student with one-off relocation allowance. Please note that, due to funding restrictions, only UK/EU citizens are eligible for this studentship.

Conducting polymers (CPs) are a unique type of organic materials that exhibit electrical and optical properties similar to those of inorganic semiconductors or, in selected cases, metals. Classical CPs, e.g. polythiophene, are intrinsically water-insoluble and difficult to functionalise, hindering their applications in biomedical applications. Conventional approach of introducing water-solublity and bespoke functional groups to CPs often involves functionalisation of monomers prior to polymerisation which is cumbersome and challenging to perform.

This PhD project aims to design and synthesise stimuli-responsive, multifunctional CP systems for biosensing and nanophotonic applications, which will synergise with other experimental effort led by the Lee group. In particular, highly fluorescent and biocompatible PC nanocomposites will be achieved by engineering the combinatorics of pendant functional groups on the polymer chains which is only possible via a mix-and-match supramolecular approach developed by our group. The project aims to pave the way towards modular design of aqueous CP nanocomposites for printable electronics and sensor chips for biomedical applications.

Please visit the group website for more details about our research: http://tungchunlee.weebly.com/

The successful applicant should have or expect to achieve 1st  or 2:1 class Integrated Masters degree (MSci, MChem, etc.) or 2:1 minimum BSc plus stand-alone Masters degree with Merit in Chemistry, Physics, Materials Science, or a related discipline. The successful applicant will demonstrate strong interest and self-motivation in the subject, good experimental practice and the ability to think analytically and creatively. Good computer skills, plus good presentation and writing skills in English, are required. Previous research experience in contributing to a collaborative interdisciplinary research environment is highly desirable but not necessary as training will be provided. Please contact Dr. Tung Chun Lee (tungchun.lee@ucl.ac.uk) for further details or to express an interest. Applications will be accepted until 15 July 2019 but the position will be filled as soon as an appropriate candidate is found.

A 3-year PhD studentship in Experimental Chemistry/Materials Science: local atomic and nanometric structure-property correlations in Na-ion and K-ion battery materials (D/L:31/07/2019) 

A fully funded PhD studentship is available for a highly motivated applicant who will work under the
supervision of Dr. Yang Xu at the Department of Chemistry.
The quest for alternatives of Li-ion batteries (LIBs) has been an active area of battery research. Na-ion
batteries (NIBs) and K-ion batteries (KIBs) are considered to be promising alternatives, as from a
theoretical perspective (regardless of the performance of available materials), they have comparable
specific energy and energy density to LIBs with respect to the weight of various components in a
common battery form. The focus of our research is to investigate local atomic and nanometric structureproperty
correlations and to demonstrate design principles for emerging energy materials and devices in
NIBs and KIBs, through rational synthesis and in-depth characterizations combined with computational
methods. We pay special attention to utilizing defects in the materials to facilitate charge
transfer/transport and understanding the underlying mechanisms. We are interested in the fundamental
science at the solid-liquid/solid-solid interfaces and the interplay between the interfaces and local
electrochemical reactivity. Details of the research activities of Dr. Xu can be found at:
https://scholar.google.de/citations?user=0rjWUboAAAAJ&hl=en.
The successful applicant should have or expect to achieve a good honours degree (first or upper second)
in Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science or a related subject. The successful applicant
will demonstrate strong interest and self-motivation in the subject, good experimental practice and the
ability to think creatively and rigorously. An enquiring and exploring approach to research as well as
excellent team-work, observational and communication skills (both presentation and writing skills in
English) is also essential. Previous research experience in battery research is highly desirable.
UK/EU students are eligible for this studentship, which will cover tuition fees at UK/EU rate plus a
stipend (tax free) for three years. The start date for the PhD position is September 23rd, 2019. The
deadline for application is July 31st, with interviews to be held, but the position will be filled as soon
as a suitable applicant is selected.
Applicants should email a letter of motivation, a degree transcript, an up-to-date CV and contact info
for two referees directly to Dr. Xu (
y.xu.1@ucl.ac.uk), who may also be approached for informal
enquiries. The suitable candidate will be required to complete an electronic application form at:
https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/apply. Any admission queries should be directed
to Dr. Jadranka Butorac (j.butorac@ucl.ac.uk)

 

Using liquid microjet spectroscopy to explore the redox properties of organic molecules in aqueous solutions(D/L:31/05/2019) 

A fully funded (36 month) PhD studentship is available in UCL Chemistry to work on a project in the group of Professor Helen Fielding in collaboration with Professors Graham Worth and Katherine Holt, involving gas-phase and liquid-microjet photoelectron spectroscopy, supported by quantum chemistry calculations and cyclic voltammetry measurements. The aim is to use gas-phase and liquid-microjet photoelectron spectroscopy measurements of ionization potentials to determine one-electron standard reduction potentials of the ground and electronically excited states of a range of biologically and technologically important organic molecular ions in aqueous solution. The spectroscopy measurements will be complemented by computational chemistry calculations and cyclic voltammetry measurements of the kinetics and reversibility of electron transfer. The student will gain experience of working on a multidisciplinary project and gain expertise in state-of-the-art spectroscopy and computational chemistry.

The applicants should have, or expect to gain, at least a 2.1 honours degree, or equivalent, at Masters level in Chemistry, or a related physical science discipline. The successful applicant will have a strong interest in physical chemistry and have the ability to think analytically and creatively. An enquiring and rigorous approach to research as well as good team-working and communication skills (both presentation and written English) are essential.

UCL offers a world leading scientific environment in the heart of London.

Due to funding restrictions, only UK/EU students who meet the 3 years residency criteria are eligible for this studentship. The start date for the PhD is in late September 2019. The deadline for applications is 31 May 2019, although the position will be filled as soon as an appropriate candidate is found.

Applicants should send their applications (cover letter describing motivation for applying, CV and contact details for 2 referees) by email to Professor Helen Fielding h.h.fielding@ucl.ac.uk, who may also be approached for informal enquiries.

Applicants will also be required to complete an electronic application form at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/apply. Any admissions queries should be directed to the postgraduate administrator Dr Jadranka Butorac (j.butorac@ucl.ac.uk).