PhD Studentship in materials science and engineering; co-funded by the ISIS neutron and muon spallation source

Updated: about 2 months ago
Location: Nottingham, SCOTLAND
Deadline: 10 Apr 2022

Closing Date
Sunday, 10th April 2022

PhD Studentship in materials science and engineering; co-funded by the ISIS neutron and muon spallation source

Project Title:   Functional glass structure from synthesis to analysis – developing the next generation of mid-infrared and bio-engineering materials

Host institution: University of Nottingham

Supervisor 1: Emma Barney

Supervisor 2: Tristan Youngs (ISIS Neutron and Muon Spallation Source)

Overview: This studentship offers the exciting opportunity to work in close collaboration with researchers at both Nottingham University and the ISIS neutron and muon spallation source. 50% their time will be spent at STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratories, Oxfordshire, working at  the world leading ISIS neutron spallation source to perform relevant neutron experiments and to join the development team of the Disordered Materials Group's next generation analysis software, Dissolve. For the remaining 50% of their time, they will be based within the Advanced Materials Research Group at the University of Nottingham to make and characterise glasses, carry out structural measurements, and apply the new code to develop insights into the structure of mid-infrared and bio-engineering glasses. As such this is an exciting opportunity to develop a mix of programming and practical lab skills and be involved from end-to-end in the development and application of new, much-needed, additions to a popular structural modelling technique used by a global community of researchers studying the structure of complex materials.

Project description: Glasses are used for a range of high-end technological applications including nuclear waste storage, bio-engineering, chemical sensing, defence and optical fibres and lasers.  However, the ability to use this versatile material to its full potential is limited by our understanding.  To suit each of these applications, glasses must be engineered to have the correct attributes.  By varying the types and amounts of modifier oxides (CaO, Na­2 O etc) added to a glass, the structure of the glass network is altered, often leading to large changes in key properties such as durability, thermal stability and optical response.  For industrial applications, this often results in a complex glass composed of many different elements. A robust understanding of the roles of different modifiers in the structure, and therefore physical properties, of a glass would enable new compositions for specific applications to be designed rapidly. A wide range of structural techniques are required to study the network structure of glasses and computer modelling is a powerful method of synthesizing this wealth of data to gain structural insights.

Dissolve is a new code for simulating and interrogating total scattering data. It implements and builds upon the methodology of Empirical Potential Structure Refinement (EPSR) to provide next-generation tools for the treatment of multi-scale systems. However, while EPSR is used widely by the liquids community, it has not been extensively taken up by glass researchers.  This work will focus on adapting and developing the code for Dissolve to improve its suitability for use by glass scientists nationally and internationally and to better support the glass research program at ISIS. 

Eligibility: The PhD position is available from 1st October 2022 and is funded for 3 years. The funding is for UK/eligible for home fees students only. This project will include the payment of tuition fees as well as a stipend equivalent to RCUK rates (currently at £15,609 p.a. tax free for 2021/22) awarded to the suitable candidate.

When applying for this studentship, please include the reference number (beginning ENG) within the personal statement section of the application. This will help in ensuring your application is sent directly to the academic advertising the studentship. Applications with a CV, a brief statement of your research interests, and the names and email addresses of two referees should be sent to Dr Emma Barney, email:

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