Vacancies

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Vacancies:

PhD Studentship on Nanoscale Perovskites for Energy Harvesting

Reference: NGCM-116

The development of portable renewable energy power sources as an alternative to batteries is an attractive prospect that will permit a new class of renewable energy devices that can operate indefinitely. We have identified a class of multiferroic perovskite nanoscale materials that are ideal for device integration due to their unique properties that lead to enhanced functionality. Less is however known about the physical mechanism responsible for the enhancement and role of surface and interfacial effects within the composite device structure. The ability to simulate the structural and electronic properties of the complete device structure is highly desirable for rapid device optimisation and will serve to accelerate experimental efforts in device fabricating and testing.

In this project, we will develop, evaluate and use simulation software that permits large-scale parallel computation of performance characteristics of vibrational energy harvesting devices using state of the art High Performance Computing (HPC) systems such as Iridis. We will focus primarily on a theoretical description based on ab-initio and meta-dynamics simulations of charge transport in piezeoelectromagnetic materials functioning in a device setting. Extensions will include exploring the role of defects in nanocrystal heterojunction interfaces formed with organic conductive polymers. This work will provide a fundamental understanding in the design and interpretation of ultrafast coherent X-ray imaging experiments, as performed at fourth-generation X-ray free electron laser (XFEL) facilities such as the European XFEL in Hamburg.

The outcome of the project will be a complete modeling framework that is able to (1) accurately predict the performance characteristics of devices for a range of nanocrystal-polymer composites and (2) interpret Bragg coherent X-ray imaging measurements as performed on devices. We will use this framework to support and accelerate experimental and theoretical research of our national and international collaborators and to further the development of renewable energy devices towards commercialisation. We are looking for an applicant with a background in physics, engineering, mathematics, or computer science, and an appetite to learn and research across conventional discipline boundaries.

The stipend is at the standard EPSRC levels. More details on facilities and computing equipment are available here

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Dr Marcus Newton, Email: M.C.Newton (at) soton.ac.uk Tel: +44 (0) 2380 597548

This project is run through participation in the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Next Generation Computational Modelling (http://ngcm.soton.ac.uk). For details of our 4 Year PhD programme, please see here

To apply, please complete an online application form. Further information can be found here.

PhD studentship on Photoresponsive nanocomposite coatings for anti-laser dazzling in aviation safety

Reference: 870217F2

Laser attacks penetrating aircraft windshields at pilots are incredibly dangerous which could cause hazardous and potentially lethal distraction, posing a significant and increasing threat in aviation safety. The Department for Transport estimates there are around 1,500 laser attacks on aircraft per year in the UK, while last year through October 22 the US Federal Aviation Association noted 5,564 reported laser strike incidents took place nationwide.

The aim of this project is to develop a nanocrystal quantum dot (QDs) based photoresponsive nanocomposite coating which will respond to and adsorb laser illuminations at selected wavebands with high input intensities, whilst the normal visible light transmission at low input intensities is not obstructed, leading to an energy dependent blocking of laser light. Due to quantum confinement effect, the fluorescence emission wavelength is also dependent on the dot size, that will allow us to mitigate laser in different colour.

The specific objectives of the project will be: (i) to synthesise nanocrystal QDs with desired size and corresponding optical properties, by using the advanced continuous-flow reactor technology developed in our research groups; (ii) to design and functionalise QDs surface; (iii) to embed such produced QDs into polymeric matrix to form nanocomposite coatings; and (iv) to characterise the coatings in terms of laser intensity mitigation. This project will be supervised by a multidisciplinary supervisory team across engineering, materials chemistry, and industry, based on the established collaboration.

Candidates will have a first class or upper second class degree (or its equivalent) in relevant disciplines, e.g. chemistry, physics, materials science, engineering and/or relevant nano science and technology. The successful candidate will work with a group of highly motivated, first class research students in the areas of engineering materials, chemistry and bioengineering.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Xunli Zhang, Bioengineering research group, Email: XL.Zhang@soton.ac.uk, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 5099.

To apply, please click here

PhD studentship on Nanoscale Piezoelectric Materials for Energy Harvesting (2 posts available)

There is growing economic and social need to transition to renewable energies to meet the impending challenges of climate change. Renewable energy will contribute to safeguarding energy security and help to reduce fossil fuel dependency. Our everyday environment has an abundance of energy sources, the choice of which depends on accessibility, implementation and conversion efficiency. These include solar, geothermal, mechanical, magnetic, chemical and biological. Due to the potential benefits of nanostructured materials, there is currently a vibrant research effort for their utilisation in low cost and robust devices. With the drive to device portability and miniaturisation beyond the nanoscale, development of robust renewable power sources as an alternative to batteries is an attractive prospect. The aim of this project is to develop low cost solution processable mechanical and vibrational energy harvesting technologies based on low cost and environmentally friendly nanomaterials. The objective will be to deliver functional devices with energy densities sufficient for remote applications. The scientific challenge is to develop the materials and methods for integration into a range of energy harvesting device structures. We have identified a class of nanomaterials that are an ideal choice for device integration due to their unique properties that can lead to enhanced functionality. A key theme in this project is to investigate the optimal choice of nanomaterial-polymer composite that provides the optimal energy conversion efficiency. Another key aspect is the evaluation of the material in a practical energy harvesting application. In this project, you will focus on either (1) the fabrication and optimisation of nanostructured materials and their application onto an energy harvesting structure for use in a real application scenario or (2) materials design using coherent X-ray imaging at the Diamond Light Source. Both aspects will use the state-of-the-art facilities within the Southampton Nanofabrication Centre. This project is a collaboration with the Electronic Systems and Devices Group (Prof. Steve Beeby) in the faculty of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS).

Applications are invited from bright and highly motivated students with a background in physics, materials science, inorganic chemistry or a related field. The successful candidates will need to be UK nationals and have obtained either a First or Upper Second class honours degree.

Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr. Marcus Newton ( M.C.Newton(a)soton.ac.uk ).

To apply, please complete an online application form. Further information can be found here.

PhD studentship on Ultra-fast X-ray Imaging of Nanoscale Structures

A long standing dream of chemical physics is to directly observe atomic motions during the event of a chemical transition from one state to another. The ability to quantitatively observe atomic motions within the transition state region where atoms exchange nuclear configurations would greatly facilitate our understanding of the physical process. This is particularly true for strongly correlated electronic materials where the interaction between the valence electrons can strongly influence the materials properties. Such materials are interesting as their unique properties are of considerable utility for device physics, functional materials and the study of fundamental condensed matter physics.

The aim of this project is to understand the initial stages of the femtosecond structural phase transition in strongly correlated electronic materials such as vanadium dioxide. The candidate will become proficient in the use of femtosecond coherent X-ray diffraction imaging (CXDI) for studying femtosecond structural dynamics in nanometre scale self-assembled structures.

To investigate strongly correlated phenomena the student will focus on one or more components to this multidisciplinary project. They include (1) nanoscale materials fabrication and characterisation; (2) time-resolved femto-second coherent X-ray diffraction imaging (CXDI); and (3) supercomputing based finite element materials modelling of light matter interactions.

The successful candidate will work with an international team of research scientists with a broad range of skills. The successful candidate will also visit a number of research facilities across the world including the SACLA XFEL facility in Japan and the Diamond Light Source to perform experiments.

Applications are invited from bright and highly motivated students with a background in physics, materials science, inorganic chemistry or a related field. International students are required to provide evidence of their proficiency in English language skills. Informal enquiries can be made by contacting Dr. Marcus Newton via email at M.C.Newton at soton.ac.uk.

Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr. Marcus Newton ( M.C.Newton(a)soton.ac.uk ).

To apply, please complete an online application form. Further information can be found here.