Postdoctoral Researcher

Updated: 2 months ago
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, ENGLAND
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 29 Sep 2022

Postdoctoral Researcher
Faculty of Engineering and Environment
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Applications are invited for a three-year postdoctoral research position in the development of ultra-high strength refractory high-entropy thin film sheets through sputtering technology, funded by Northumbria University.  The successful candidate will work with Professor Esther Akinlabi and be based in the Department of Mechanical & Construction Engineering, within the Faculty of Engineering and Environment at Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK.

High-entropy alloys (HEAs) have been demonstrated to exhibit attractive properties such as high hardness, resistance to wear, strength at extreme temperatures etc. HEAs consist of five or more elements mixed with close to equimolar concentrations (each element should be at least between 5-35 atomic %wt). Refractory based HEAs exhibit a BCC structure and usually consist of transition metals (Group 4 to 6 in the periodic table) such as Ti, Nb, Ta, Mo and W. Refractory HEAs have been shown to exhibit extraordinary mechanical properties. The properties of the alloys can be enhanced by (a) variation of the compositions of the individual elements in the HEA or (b) addition of p-elements (elements in Column 13-18, except helium, in the Periodic Table). Both approaches lead to grain refinement due to segregation of elements. In bulk processing of HEAs, both approaches are possible, however, in thin film deposition, the addition of p-elements such as C, N, Al, etc. is more feasible. The addition of p-elements, such as C, has been shown to produce hard and crack-resistant protective thin film coatings of CrNbTaTiW. The proposed study is based on these previous findings and aims to develop a processing route for scalable sheets of refractory HEAs (such as CrNbTaTiW, CuMoTaWV, etc.) thin films through magnetron sputtering. The overall goal of the project will be to design the processing route for scalable sheets of HEA thin films via the sputtering technique for application in extreme/harsh environments. The successful candidate will decide on the specific HEA thin films to develop under this project.

The successful candidate will have a PhD in Mechanical Engineering, or in a related subject, with expertise in Materials Engineering, surface engineering and thin film depositions. Experience in experimental thin film production, characterisations and analyses is required. An individual with knowledge of numerical and/or fractal studies of thin film materials is preferred.  The post will commence in early 2023, with the targeted starting date being 1st March, 2023.

For an informal discussion with P r o fessor Akinlabi about the post, please contact Ms Catherine Smurthwaite on

Please note that if you do not have permission to work in the UK, Northumbria University may not be able to obtain a Certificate of Sponsorship for you to take up this position.

To apply for this vacancy please click 'Apply Now', and submit a covering letter, CV including research /education statements, and grants and publications list. Please highlight your highest quality research outputs up to a maximum of 4.  In addition, candidates are asked to provide copies of the top 2 research outputs (Journal / book chapter /practice-based portfolio). Where possible candidates are asked to combine all documents into a single file.

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Ranked in the UK top 50 (Guardian University League Table 202 2 and Complete University Guide 2023 ), Northumbria University is a research-intensive modern university with a global reputation for academic excellence. Northumbria recorded the biggest rise of any UK university for research power in the Research Excellence Framework for the second time in 2021 and is now rated within the top 25 in the UK.

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Northumbria University is a great place to work.  We empower our exceptional people to achieve shared ambitions and promote a positive work life balance.  To say thank you, we offer a wide range of benefits including excellent pension schemes, flexible working, a generous holiday entitlement, continued commitment to your learning and development and more .

We are an on-campus organisation where colleagues work regular patterns of hours and on campus, with some flexibility on the timing of their hours and the location of their work in discussion with their manager. 

Northumbria University is committed to creating an inclusive culture where we take pride in, and value, the diversity of our staff.  We encourage and welcome applications from all members of the community.  The University holds a bronze Athena Swan award in recognition of our commitment to advancing gender equality, we are a Disability Confident Employer, a member of the Race Equality Charter and are participating in the Stonewall Diversity Champion Programme.  We are also a member of the Euraxess network, which delivers information and support to professional researchers. The University has implemented a range of flexible working arrangements, and we are happy to explore candidate requirements as part of the recruitment process.  

We welcome applications from the UK and across the world. Visit our web pages for details about Relocation Assistance

Please note this vacancy will close on 29/09/2022

Further information

  155521-Role Description - 13326

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