Our research cuts across the traditional disciplinary boundaries, and we therefore invite applications for research leading to the PhD degree from scientists and engineers in all appropriate subjects who have an interest in any of our research areas. The main application sectors addressed by our research are: energy conversion; environmental protection; transport; electronics/optoelectronics; and healthcare. Across all themes the research is carried out with strong support from and involvement of industrial organisations. This close collaboration with industry, alongside our first class facilities, ensures that the Department is at the forefront of Materials Science and Engineering research.

Postgraduate Research Courses

PhDs

 CO2 Electroreduction to Sustainable Fuels 

The increased uptake of renewable electricity is contingent on better means of storing the surplus power. The electrolytic reduction of CO2 to an energy-dense fuel —  such as ethanol— could constitute the ideal means of doing so. Judicious design and synthesis of the catalyst material is key to ensuring that the process can occur efficiently. However, significant improvements are necessary to the catalysis before CO2 reduction can make a significant impact to the global energy landscape. The aim of the project will be to develop a catalyst which can accelerate the reaction under conditions of accelerated mass transport, highly relevant for real devices.

Supervisor: 
Dr Ifan Stephens / Professor Anthony Kucernak

>> Find out more   (pdf)

Start date: October 2018
Duration:
42 months
Position available:
1

Funding:
Only to applicants who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date, or EU nationals

Deadline:
31 December 2017

>> How to apply

Summary of the table's contents
Quantum Mechanical Simulations of Organic Electronics 


In this PhD project you will develop and apply QM methods for modelling organic electronics, focussing on materials for OLEDs. You will use methods based on density functional theory (DFT) and will exploit techniques for large systems, including linear-scaling DFT and multi-scale approaches, as well as methods for excited states. You will implement your developments in the open source BigDFT code, and will run simulations on parallel supercomputers. You will be a part of the Thomas Young Centre for Theory and Simulation of Materials and will collaborate with other researchers with expertise in modelling and experiment, who are based in the UK and internationally

Supervisor:
Dr Laura Ratcliff

>> Find out more(pdf)

Start date: October 2018
Duration:
36 months
Position available:
1

Funding:
Only to applicants who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date, or EU nationals

Deadline:
1 September 2018

>> How to apply

Summary of the table's contents
Photoelectron Spectroscopy of Oxide Heterostructures 


In particular, you will study the interfaces between oxides and adjacent layers of other oxides, metallisation layers, or dielectrics in heterostructures relevant to electronic devices both for applications such as memory and data storage, smart and wearable devices, and highly energy efficient power electronics. These interfaces determine the overall device behaviour and therefore it is of utmost importance to understand the local chemistry and physics. However, this is complicated as interfaces are not a simple combination of the properties of the single layers. At an interface, large numbers of completely new interactions are possible and many are still poorly understood. However, if oxides are to be successfully used in devices, we need to understand what is happening at these interfaces.

Supervisor:
Dr Anna Regoutz

>> Find out more (pdf)

Start date: October 2018
Duration:
36 months
Position available:
1

Funding:
Only to applicants who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date, or EU nationals

Deadline:
1 September 2018

>> How to apply

Summary of the table's contents
Multifunctional structural composites for electrical energy storage 

The goal of this PhD will be to devise, synthesize and characterize new structural supercapacitor architectures, with intrinsically shorter ionic diffusion distances than our existing laminated configurations. Fibre and tow level devices, involving novel nanocoatings and multifunctional matrices, will be optimized and then assembled into larger composite components. Whilst there will be considerable freedom to develop new concepts, the wider project offers opportunities to work with closely with industry to explore adoption of structural power in transportation applications, particularly aerospace. The project will suit a student with a broad interests in nanomaterials, electrochemical energy storage, and structural composites.

Supervisor:
Professor Milo Shaffer

>>Find out more (pdf)

Start date: October 2018
Duration:
36 months
Position available: 1

Funding:
Only to applicants who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date, or EU nationals

Deadline: 
1 September 2018

>> How to apply

Summary of the table's contents
 


A major breakthrough in gas turbine’s performance (cycle efficiency, reduce noise and emissions) requires a new generation of structural materials having an operative temperature higher than the alloys currently used. Ceramic matric composites (CMCs) exhibit superior high temperature strength and durability that will revolutionize the new generation of engines. In addition, the low density of CMCs allows weight savings of up to 30% compared to Ni-based alloys thus leading to simple and compact design. CMCs have reached the degree of maturity that allows them to be used for the next generation of gas turbines. Understanding the failure mechanisms of CMSs and how their mechanical properties relate to their structure is now essential to ensure the integration of CMCs in practical applications and to develop a new generation of materials with improved properties. The objectives of this project are:

- To develop mechanical testing methodologies that will enable an accurate and reliable characterization of the fracture behaviour of CMCs

- To combine systematic mechanical testing and structural characterization in order to develop a deep understanding of the parameters that control fracture and the models needed to support the design of new materials..

Supervisors: Professor Eduardo Saiz and Dr Nasrin Al-Nasiri

>>Find out more (pdf)

Start date: October 2018
Duration:
36 months
Position available: 1

Funding:
Only to applicants who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date, or EU nationals

Deadline: 
1 September 2018

>> How to apply

Summary of the table's contents
Novel Crystal-inspired Hierarchical Lattice Design by 3D Printing 
Additive manufacture (AM) via 3D printing holds great potential for manufacturing high-end bespoke products in aerospace, automobile and medical applications.  However, there are challenges in making high performance and reliable products by AM. At Imperial College London, we currently pursue a novel approach inspired by strengthening mechanisms in crystals to manufacture strong lightweight but damage tolerant components by 3D printing.

Supervisors: Dr Minh-Son (Son) Pham

>>Find out more (pdf)

Start date: October 2018
Duration:
36 months
Position available: 1

Funding:
Only to applicants who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date, or EU nationals

Deadline: 
1 September 2018

>> How to apply

Summary of the table's contents
Next-generation Aircraft Propulsion Materials

New and improved alloys are providing the opportunity to reduce weight and increase operating temperatures, thus improving flight efficiencies whilst reducing polluting emissions. Understanding the behaviour and performance of these materials are crucial to optimise their design and hence minimise damaging effects to our environment.


Supervisors: Professor Fionn Dunne FREng

>> Find out more(pdf)

Start date: October 2018
Duration:
36 months
Position available: 1

Funding:
Only to applicants who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date, or EU nationals

Deadline:
1 September 2018

>> How to apply

Summary of the table's contents
Room Temperature Masers 
At Imperial we’ve solved the 60 year old mystery: we have a maser that functions at room temperature, and without the need for an external magnet.  Potential applications for the maser include more sensitive medical scanners; chemical sensors for remotely detecting explosives; advanced quantum computer components; and better radio astronomy devices.  Our maser uses pentacene in a P terphenyl host matrix and we are looking for other molecules.  We are also interested in inorganic materials – possibly using defect centres in diamond for example.


Supervisor: Professor Neil Alford MBE FREng

>> Find out more (pdf)

Start date: Flexible
Duration:
36 months

Funding:
Only to applicants who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date

Deadline: 
Enquiries can be made at any time

>> How to apply

Summary of the table's contents
PhD in Computational techniques for crystal twin nucleation and growth in hcp polycrystals 
Twinning is an interesting microstructure-level deformation phenomenon which occurs in commercially useful Ti and Zr alloys. Quantitatively predictive computational crystal plasticity techniques remain elusive and difficult to establish firstly because of the absence of a sound mechanistic understanding and secondly, because of the inherently unstable nature of twin formation leading to local non-equilibrated stress states in the analysis techniques. This project aims to utilise both quasi-static and dynamic testing with  advanced characterisation in order to develop mechanistic understanding together with the establishment of novel computational  crystal plasticity techniques to provide quantitative predictive capability.


Supervisor: Professor Fionn Dunne FREng

Start date: Flexible
Duration:
36 months

Funding:
Only to applicants who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date

Deadline: 
Enquiries can be made at any time

>> How to apply

Summary of the table's contents
PhD in Crystal plasticity modelling techniques for x-ray diffraction studies of polycrystal deformation 


X-ray diffraction techniques are employed to measure the straining developed in polycrystal alloys at the level of the microstructure. The measurements give rise to distributions of crystallographic lattice spacing distributions (called peaks) which are observed to broaden, as a result partially because of the development of dislocation structures, but also because of elastic lattice distortions. The measurements obtained are sometimes difficult to interpret because of the absence of knowledge of the underlying physical mechanisms, but also because of the averaging and superposition of diffracted waves utilised in the x-ray technique. This project aims to establish crystal plasticity modelling techniques which address and eliminate the superposition problem, and which provide insight and quantitative detail for the interpretation of the experimental measurements.

Supervisor: Professor Fionn Dunne FREng

Start date: Flexible
Duration:
36 months

Funding:
Only to applicants who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date

Deadline: 
Enquiries can be made at any time

>> How to apply

Summary of the table's contents
PhD in Modelling methodologies for microstructure-sensitive crack growth in aero-engine PM Ni alloys 
Powder metallurgy (PM) produced nickel alloys are increasingly important for aero-engine components (such as turbine discs). A life-limiting factor is the nucleation and growth of defects which sometimes originate from key microstructural features. A considerable fraction of component life is potentially determined by the subsequent growth of the cracking which remains sensitive to the local microstructure. This project focuses on the establishment of computational modelling techniques with which microstructure-sensitive crack growth may be accurately captured in order to enable reliable component lifing analysis codes. The project is in collaboration with Rolls-Royce plc.

Supervisor:
Professor Fionn Dunne FREng

Start date: Flexible
Duration:
36 months

Funding:
Only to applicants who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date

Deadline: 
Enquiries can be made at any time

>> How to apply
Summary of the table's contents
PhD in Development of New Biomaterials for Regenerative Medicine 
This project aims to synthesise polymer-based materials designed according to the requisites in bone or cardiovascular tissue engineering. A major goal will be the elucidation of the physical and chemical properties at the cell-material interface using state of the art materials-based characterisation techniques. The key features of the materials’ properties on the influence of cells in 2D and 3D culture will then be assessed.


Supervisor:
Professor Molly Stevens FREng

Start date: Flexible
Duration:
36 months

Funding:
Only to applicants who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date

Deadline: 
Enquiries can be made at any time

>> How to apply
Summary of the table's contents
PhD in Development of New Biomaterials for Biosensing 
This project will focus on the development of new nanomaterial-based assays that detect biomarkers specific to cancer and infectious diseases according to relevant biomarker concentrations and cost-amenability. The physical proper ties of the assay will need to be completely characterised to understand the effects of agglomeration and influence of surrounding proteins. This project includes preclinical tests using patient samples.

Supervisor: Professor Molly Stevens FREng

Start date: Flexible
Duration:
36 months

Funding:
Only to applicants who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date

Deadline: 
Enquiries can be made at any time

>> How to apply
Summary of the table's contents
PhD in Fatigue cracking in jet engine titanium alloys 
 
Understanding and avoiding fatigue cracking is a critical concern for jet engine manufacturers. In this project, sponsored by Rolls-Royce, we will examine three aspects of fatigue, using SEM, TEM and specimen fatigue testing, possibly aided by synchrotron X-ray tomography. Firstly, in dwell fatigue, there is a concern about the crack growth rates in the facetting regime for hard-oriented grains at low DeltaK, and especially the effect of H content. Secondly, we would like to examine the effect of colony orientation on crack growth, and the micro-mechanisms of deformation ahead of the crack tip. Finally, we would like to examine striation and facet formation in Ti-6242 vs Ti-6246, as there is relatively little information on these alloys, as compared to the traditional Ti-64 alloy.

Supervisor: Professor David Dye

Start date: Flexible
Duration:
36 months

Funding:
Only to applicants who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date

Deadline: 
Enquiries can be made at any time

>> How to apply
Summary of the table's contents
PhD in In-situ studies of deformation in semi-solid steels 

This project will study the fundamental microstructural response to load in partially-solid alloys by time-resolved synchrotron X-ray video microscopy.  We will use concepts from soil and magma mechanics to measure individual grain displacements during l oading, the coupling of grain motion and liquid flow and develop new insight into defect formation in the casting of steels.

SupervisorDr Chris Gourlay

Start date: Flexible
Duration:
36 months

Funding:
UK students - bursary and fees. EU students - fees only. International students must be self-funded

Deadline: 
Enquiries can be made at any time

>> How to apply

Summary of the table's contents

Centres for Doctoral Training

EPSRC logoIn operando analysis of the electrochemical processes governing solid oxide fuel

You will join the Centre for Doctoral Training in the Advanced Characterisation of Materials, where you will receive structured training in a number of key characterisation techniques, as part of a cohort of students. This project is joined with an industry partner.

SupervisorsProfessor Stephen Skinner

>> ‌ In operando analysis of the electrochemical processes governing solid oxide fuel (pdf)


Start date:
October 2018
Duration: 48 months (PhD)
Positions available: 2
Funding: Only to applicants who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for five years prior to the start date
How to apply: please see 'More information and how to apply' link above

EPSRC Imperial-Cambridge-Open Centre for Doctoral Training in Nuclear Energy (ICO-CDT)  EPSRC logo


Founded in 2014, the EPSRC Imperial-Cambridge-Open Centre for Doctoral Training in Nuclear Energy (ICO-CDT) was established to train civil nuclear energy leaders for global markets. In the UK, new build of Generation III reactors is imminent, a new generation of small reactors is being scoped out, and safe geological disposal of a diverse nuclear waste inventory needs to be demonstrated and implemented. The UK needs a new generation of experts in reactor design and operation, materials performance, nuclear safety and security, the nuclear fuel cycle, and waste reprocessing and disposal.

Applications are welcome from applicants who have obtained, or are expected to obtain, at least an upper-second (2.1) degree (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject (e.g. Materials, Mechanical, Civil, Electrical, Chemical Engineering, Physics, Chemistry or Earth Sciences). To be eligible for a studentship, you must you be a UK citizen or an EU national who has been resident in the UK for the past three years. Funding is unavailable for international students: we welcome applications for qualified international students, but only if they are self-funded.

For more information please visit imperial.ac.uk/nuclear-cdt/programme/

Start date:
October 2018
Duration: 48 months (MREs +PhD)
Funding: Only to applicants who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date
How to apply: Use our Online Application Portal

EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in the Advanced Characterisation of Materials (ACM CDT)  EPSRC logo

This joint CDT in the Advanced Characterisation of Materials will provide you with a PhD training programme in the application of state-of-the-art characterisation techniques to materials challenges in key thematic areas of societal importance such as Energy, Information Technology, Nanomaterials, Healthcare, Security, Environment and Transport.  Each project will involve experts at both University College London and Imperial College London and you will spend time at both sites during your project.  You will also have a three-month placement at a leading international university, research institute or industrial partner. 

Specially designed training modules in characterisation will be interwoven with your PhD research project, and you will also receive professional development training delivered by our award-winning Graduate Schools. Your personal development and the world-leading research you are engaged in will be closely linked with real-world applications as the projects will be aligned with the priorities of our network of industrial partners.  On graduation you will be ideally qualified to follow a career path either in academia or industry.  Our training philosophy is that our graduates will provide the innovation and creativity required to lead the world in the development, characterisation and manufacture of new materials, making a significant contribution to the quality of life of future generations.


Start date:
October 2018
Duration: 48 months (PhD)
Funding: Only to applicants who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date
How to apply: Applications to the CDT will be handled in two stages. Stage 1:  Send a full CV, including the marks (%) for all (undergraduate) modules completed to date, the names and contact details of two referees as well as a covering letter to the CDT team at admin@cdt-acm.org. Applications that do not provide this information cannot be considered. Stage 2: Suitable applicants will be interviewed, and if successful invited to make a formal application.

EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Plastic Electronic Materials  EPSRC logo


The Plastic Electronics CDT academic cohort comprises over 30 academics from the Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Materials and Physics departments at Imperial, the School of Engineering and Materials Science at Queen Mary University, London, and the Physics and Materials departments at the University of Oxford. This ensures expertise in all aspects of the science of printable electronics, from material synthesis to advanced characterisation and modelling, to device design and fabrication. The PE-CDT aims to produce graduates with interdisciplinary experience and capability in the science and applications of printable electronic materials and devices, with an understanding of the associated industry, and with the ability to adapt and develop new technologies and applications.

For more information please visit: imperial.ac.uk/plastic-electronics-cdt/postgraduate-training/projects-available-for-october-2018-start/

Start date:
October 2018
Duration: 48 months  (MREs +PhD)
Funding: Only to applicants who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date
How to apply: Use our Online Application Portal

EPSRC Imperial-Cambridge-Open Centre for Theory and Simulation of Materials (TSM-CDT)  EPSRC logo

The 4 year PhD programme in Theory and Simulation of Materials combines the one year MSc in TSM with a 3 year PhD research project. The first year provides a rigorous training in the required theoretical methods and simulation techniques through the taught MSc programme and includes a 3-month research project which normally acts as an introduction to the PhD research project that follows.

On completion of the MSc in TSM, students undertake their PhD research project, which occupies years 2-4. Each student has at least two supervisors (one of whom may be based in industry or at another university) whose combined expertise spans multiple length- and/or time-scales of materials theory and simulation. Students do not have to make a choice of their research project until May of year 1 and there will be a large range of projects to choose from.

For more information please visit: imperial.ac.uk/theory-and-simulation-of-materials/programmes/4-year-phd/

Start date:
October 2018
Duration: 48 months (MSc +PhD)
Funding: Only to applicants who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date
How to apply: Use our Online Application Portal