Postgraduate opportunities

We are always looking for enthusiastic students to carry out PhD projects.

Postgraduate positions

Applied Spectroscopy

PhD positions in Device Physics in the Applied Spectroscopy Group. The Applied Spectroscopy Group has openings for PhD postgraduate positions in GaN based materials, devices and device physics. We work with major national and international partners on AlGaN/GaN power transistors and their materials to understand their working. We develop and have developed unique key techniques for novel characterization of transistors, at the boundary between Physics, Materials Science and Engineering, which will be applied and developed further in the context of this project. A good MSci or MSc (or equivalent) degree in Physics, Materials Science or Engineering is needed. For further details please see the Applied Spectroscopy group.

Electron Microscopy

Particular areas of interest at present include the growth and characterisation of semiconductor nanostructures, and the development and characterisation of new field emitters and phosphors for flat panel displays. If you are interested in these topics or other topics on our group research webpage, please contact Professor David Cherns.

PhD opportunities in the Surface Physics Group

Measuring the electrical conductance of a single molecule

Electron transport through molecules is an extremely important topic. It underpins key technologies such as molecular electronics as well as critical processes in cell biology (such as photosynthesis). This PhD project will look at the conductance of a single molecule bonded between two metal contacts. Unlike previous work, the metal in question will not be gold, but a more reactive metal such as cobalt or iron. Moving away from gold opens the door to exciting new physics, including spin-dependent electron transport effects. We have developed a world-leading experimental platform, based on a modified scanning tunnelling microscope that enables such measurements. Our initial results for nickel have proved exceptionally interesting.

Supervisor: Prof Walther Schwarzacher

Ice nucleation

‌‌Ice nucleation is crucially important in contexts ranging from environmental science to medicine, materials science and mineralogy.  Heterogeneous ice nucleation is a key process in atmospheric cloud formation, while in cryobiology it is essential to avoid or control ice nucleation, because of the damage that ice crystals can do to cell structures.  This project will study ice nucleation by nanoparticles, investigating the links between ice nucleation, surface structure and surface chemistry in a collaboration between the Schools of Physics and Earth Sciences.  We will use a newly-developed magnetic method to probe ice-nanoparticle interactions, in addition to carrying out optical and other measurements of the nucleation process itself. 

Supervisors: Prof Walther Schwarzacher and Dr Alison Rust

Who to contact

If you are interested in any of our postgraduate opportunities, contact the project supervisor.

Postgraduate positions

Applied Spectroscopy

PhD positions in Device Physics in the Applied Spectroscopy Group. The Applied Spectroscopy Group has openings for PhD postgraduate positions in GaN based materials, devices and device physics. We work with major national and international partners on AlGaN/GaN power transistors and their materials to understand their working. We develop and have developed unique key techniques for novel characterization of transistors, at the boundary between Physics, Materials Science and Engineering, which will be applied and developed further in the context of this project. A good MSci or MSc (or equivalent) degree in Physics, Materials Science or Engineering is needed. For further details please see the Applied Spectroscopy group.

Electron Microscopy

Particular areas of interest at present include the growth and characterisation of semiconductor nanostructures, and the development and characterisation of new field emitters and phosphors for flat panel displays. If you are interested in these topics or other topics on our group research webpage, please contact Professor David Cherns.

PhD opportunities in the Surface Physics Group

Connecting microstructure and morphology: the physics of polycrystalline electrodeposited films

‌This is an important research topic, because metal electrodeposition plays an essential role in applications from corrosion-resistant coatings to ultra-large-scale integrated circuits.  Since critical processes affecting the bulk microstructure take place at the surface, establishing detailed mechanisms requires a combination of surface and bulk data from the same region of film.  In this project, you will grow films in lithographically patterned templates a few tens of µm in diameter.  This will enable you to probe the surface topography using atomic force microscopy (AFM) during growth, then characterize the grains and grain boundaries (microstructure) in the same region ex-situ using focussed ion beam milling followed by electron backscatter diffraction.  The data will provide a unique new insight into a long-standing problem: understanding the microstructure and morphology of polycrystalline electrodeposited metal films. 

Supervisor: Prof Walther Schwarzacher

Ice nucleation

‌‌Ice nucleation is crucially important in contexts ranging from environmental science to medicine, materials science and mineralogy.  Heterogeneous ice nucleation is a key process in atmospheric cloud formation, while in cryobiology it is essential to avoid or control ice nucleation, because of the damage that ice crystals can do to cell structures.  This project will study ice nucleation by nanoparticles, investigating the links between ice nucleation, surface structure and surface chemistry in a collaboration between the Schools of Physics and Earth Sciences.  We will use a newly-developed magnetic method to probe ice-nanoparticle interactions, in addition to carrying out optical and other measurements of the nucleation process itself. 

Supervisors: Prof Walther Schwarzacher and Dr Alison Rust

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