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.

EU nationals coming to the UK for postgraduate studies now have guarantees for funding for studies starting in 2020. The guarantee ensures that those coming to the UK will remain eligible for postgraduate training support from UK Research and Innovation for courses beginning in the academic year 2020 to 2021. For more information please check this link

Postgraduate Research Courses

PhDs

 Designing printable alloys by combining thermodynamics calculation and machine learning
 

Additive manufacturing (AM) is expected to revolutionize the manufacturing industry. However, fabricating reliable and high performance metals by AM still remains one of the biggest challenges in AM of metallic alloys. Most of alloys made by AM have higher strength, but lower ductility compared to those made by other processes. One of main reasons is because existing alloys currently used in AM were initially designed for other processes (e.g., casting, rolling, etc), not for AM that induces microstructures so much different to those in other processes (ref: M.S. Pham et al. The role of side-branching in microstructure development in laser powder-bed fusion. Nature Communications 11, 749 (2020)). Therefore, there is an increasing call to design new alloys that are tailored for AM to help unlocking the full potential of additive manufacturing. In this study, the student will assess the printability of existing Ti, Ni and Fe-based alloys by evaluating their thermodynamics properties, then use a machine learning software Scikit-learn to accelerate the search and discovery of new printable alloys. The student will subsequently validate the machine learning prediction by printing selected compositions and provide feedback to improve the learning capability.

The candidates should have (or be expecting to obtain) a first degree (1st class or upper second class) in materials, mechanical engineering or a relevant subject.  Applicants should have strong knowledge in one or more of: 3D printing, physical metallurgy, mechanical testing and programming skills in Python/Matlab. Good teamwork and communication skills are essential.

For further details of the posts, please contact Dr Minh-Son (Son) Pham at son.pham@imperial.ac.uk, phone: +44 20 7594 9529.  Applicants should send a CV and covering letter and will be required to complete an electronic application form. It is expected that the studentship will begin by 1 October 2020.

Supervisor:Dr Minh-Son Pham

 

Start date: October 2020
Duration:
42 months
Position available:
1

Funding:
A 3.5 year fully funded PhD studentship in the Department of Materials at Imperial College London is open to UK and EU students who have been ordinarily residents for 3 years.Outstanding overseas students sponsored by other funding schemes are welcomed to apply


Deadline:
28 March2020 (for full online application).

>> How to Apply
Summary of the table's contents
 

Atomic-scale design of electrocatalysts for renewable energy conversion and storage in energy-rich fuels

Rapidly decarbonizing our electricity, transport and industrial sectors has become one of the most pressing challenges of modern society, research and industry. Such a restructuring requires new clean fuels for the transport sector, new green synthesis routes in the chemical industry (i.e. hydrocarbon synthesis), and scalable energy storage options. As electricity generation from renewables becomes cheaper, large-scale synthesis of fuels and chemicals via electrocatalysis of CO2 and water to energy-rich fuels is particularly attractive. Copper is one of the catalysts that is able to yield C2+ products such as ethylene, ethanol and others, but tailoring the catalyst selectivity towards one specific product remains a challenge. Often, only H2, CO and other C1 products are observed.

The aim of this project is to understand how yield and selectivity in the CO2 reduction reaction (CO2RR) on copper electrodes (metallic copper and its oxides) can be tailored towards a single product. The approach will be to alter the electrode surface composition using atomic layer deposition (ALD) and understand the function of the ALD-modified surface in the catalytic reaction. ALD is a thin film deposition technique able to control material growth down to a monolayer or even thinner on flat substrates as well as within high aspect ratio nanostructures. As such, active sites can be engineered with atomic precision and their electrocatalytic performance can be studied on flat model systems as well as in high surface area electrode architectures. The emphasis on material characterisation will lie on the catalyst surface including the identification of the catalytically active site(s) (is it one single metal centre, a bimetallic active site, metal centre/defect, metal centre/oxide interface?) using state-of-the-art surface characterisation and operando electrochemical techniques.

You will have the opportunity to work amongst and learn from an interdisciplinary and supportive network of top researchers across Imperial College London with expertise in surface science, nanomaterials, catalysis and modelling theory, and connect to a cohort of PhD students and postdoctoral researchers through collaborations, research seminars and networking events.

Application process: Please submit your CV and a cover letter, including full contact details of two referees, to Ludmilla Steier (l.steier@imperial.ac.uk). After a short interview and discussion of a more detailed research plan, you would need to apply online and include a research proposal (two-page limit) outlining your academic and research achievements to date, explaining in brief your planned research project. In the funding section of the application form, please specify that you wish to apply for the departmental DTP funds.

 
Supervisor:
Dr Ludmilla Steier



Start date: October 2020
Duration:
42 months
Position available:
1

Funding:
A 3.5 year fully funded PhD studentship in the Department of Materials at Imperial College London is open to UK and EU students who have been ordinarily residents for 3 years.


Deadline: 
11:59 pm, 28 February 2020 (for full online application).

>> How to Apply

Summary of the table's contents
 

Understanding the atomic-scale osteoinductive properties of bio-ceramics for bone regeneration

Bone can self-regenerate, however, often bone regeneration is enhanced by the use of a “bone graft”. Synthetic bone grafts from calcium phosphates (CaPs) have raised interest due to their similarity to the mineral composition of bone, their abundance, and their excellent clinical performance. Most efforts to use CaP as bone substitutes have been devoted to sintered CaP such as hydroxyapatite, β-tricalcium phosphate and their composites called biphasic CaPs (BCP). Numerous studies have investigated the in vivo behavior of CaP and have revealed that HA, β-TCP and BCP are resorbed by cell-mediated acid-driven dissolution, with preferential attacks at grain boundaries that threaten the structural integrity of the ceramics. Not all grains and grain boundaries are susceptible to these attacks, or at least not at the same rate, which could be related to the specific composition of the grain boundaries. Doping was shown to lead to changes in the dissolution behaviour, but the reasons underpinning this change are still unknown. To address this significant knowledge gap, we propose a project focused on the measurement of the composition of grain boundaries at the atomic scale using atom probe tomography, combined with electron microscopy where necessary, on a series of model ceramics with controlled levels of dopants. By relating the composition of grain boundaries to their in vitro and in vivo behaviour, we hope to pave the way for designing biologically more potent ceramics, in particular ceramics with osteoinductive properties. 

This project will be under the supervision of Dr Baptiste Gault and Prof. Saiz at Imperial College London and in collaboration with Dr. Marc Bohner from the RMS Foundation (https://www.rms-foundation.ch/en/staff-member/marc-bohner.html)  for the synthesis and in vitro tests. Most of the work is to be conducted at the Max-Planck-Institute für Eisenforschung in Düsseldorf, Germany, where Dr Gault is based. 

 
Supervisor:
Dr Baptiste Gault and Prof Eduardo Saiz



Start date: October 2020
Duration:
42 months
Position available:
1

Funding:
UK and EU students.


Deadline:
June 2020

>> How to Apply

Summary of the table's contents

3D printed microsupercapacitors based on 2D material inks for on-chip technologies

With a fast developing of the internet-of-things, wireless sensor networks deployed in a variety of environments for home automation, health monitoring, environmental control and industrial processes tracking are becoming a permeating technology. A necessary requirement for these small sensors and networks is energy autonomy. An energy-storage component is critical to store energy harvested from renewable sources to ensure energy supply over prolonged periods of time.  Microsupercapacitors with high efficiencies over small footprint areas would benefit these applications. To date device miniaturization has been developed to achieve mainly planar-geometries. 3D printing offers the opportunity to fabricate devices with different architectures and to develop those over the vertical direction. The objective of this project is to fabricate microsupercapacitors via a 3D printing technique based on continuous extrusion of a viscoelastic ink. The materials of choice are 2D atomically thin transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) in their metallic polymorphism (1T/ 1T’ phases) which are promising for energy storage applications. The project will involve inks formulation, 3D printing of electrodes and current collector, detailed characterisation using advanced microscopy and tomography methods to determine the microstructure and the 3D ordering of the platelets and to design and evaluate devices. Advanced spectroscopy characterization will be also utilized to study chemical composition and crystal phase. Upon device evaluation, microstructure, design and the ink formulation will be modified to optimize energy density and power density of the microsupercapacitor.

 
Supervisor:
Dr Cecilia Matevi



Start date: October 2020-April 2021
Duration:
42 months
Position available:
1

Funding:
DTP funding. UK and EU students (who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date).


Deadline:
1st of May 2020

>> How to Apply

Summary of the table's contents

Accelerating the Development of Anisotropic Chalcohalides for Non-Toxic, Stable Photovoltaics

Solar cells made from lead-halide perovskites have rapidly outperformed industry-standard silicon photovoltaics despite being made by cheaper methods. A key enabling property is the ability of the lead-halide perovskites to tolerate its most common point defects. Bismuth- and antimony-based compounds have recently been predicted to replicate the defect-tolerance of the lead-halide perovskites, but have the critical advantage of being substantially less toxic. Chalcohalides (such as BiSI and SbSI) have gained attention because these compounds have suitable band gaps for photovoltaics, are processable using simple and scalable methods, and are stable in air. However, the one-dimensional structure of these materials results in anisotropic charge-carrier diffusion lengths, which is challenging to integrate with standard vertically-structured diodes. This project will develop a Microstructured Interdigitated Back contact Solar cell (MIBS) to extract photogenerated carriers from the high-mobility lateral direction in compact c-axis oriented thin films. MIBS will comprise of alternating n- and p-type electrodes spaced 1–20 mm apart, which will be probed with photocurrent spectroscopy to measure diffusion length. This will allow the photovoltaic potential of chalcohalides to be established faster, which can accelerate the optimisation of chalcohalide thin films in efficient photovoltaics. MIBS can also be more broadly applied as a tool to accelerate the development of new anisotropic solar absorbers.

 
Supervisor:
Dr Robert Hoye (Materials)



Start date: October 2020-April 2021
Duration:
42 months
Position available:
1

Funding: 
DTP funding. UK and EU students (who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date).


Deadline: 
1st of May 2020

>> How to Apply

Summary of the table's contents

Bioengineering NKT cell cancer immunotherapies

Cellular immunotherapies are revolutionizing cancer treatment by mobilizing the body’s own immune system against the disease. In these new therapies, immune cells are cultured and engineered in vitro, and then infused into the patient. The key in vitro step offers opportunities for new biomaterials/tissue engineering technologies to make a critical contribution to patient outcomes in cancer. This project is a collaboration between Dr Iain Dunlop (Materials) and Prof. Anastasios Karadimitris (Medicine). In recent years, Dr Dunlop together with other labs around the world has shown that immune cell activation can be controlled by biophysical methods, exploiting precisely-engineered soft- and nano- biomaterials. In parallel, the Karadimitris lab has developed new cancer cell therapies based on NKT (Natural Killer T) cells, which are about to be tested in clinical trials. The student will combine these efforts to develop new biomaterials that control immune cell development in vitro, exploiting advanced technological approaches in hydrogel and nanomaterials science. The project would suit a graduate in Materials, Chemistry, Bioengineering, or else a MechEng/ChemEng graduate with a strong interdisciplinary background.


Supervisor:
Dr Iain Dunlop (Materials) and Prof. Anastasios Karadimitris (Medicine)



Start date: October 2020
Duration:
36 months
Position available:
1

Funding:
This project would suit a self-funded or scholarship student, or for an EPSRC-eligible student (UK and EU students 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
ODS nickel development for molten salt reactors (corrosion and irradiation resistant)

The objective of our overall US-UK collaborative project is the delivery of new nanostructure-strengthened Ni-base alloys which are critical for the development of Molten Salt Reactors (MSR), enabling the burning of used fuel and alternative fuel sources. These alloys will have enhanced high-temperature mechanical performance, radiation tolerance and helium retainability, with chemical compositions optimised for minimal corrosion in molten salt environments. The development of new alloys will primarily address two shortcomings in existing candidate materials for molten salt reactors (MSR), namely, insufficient high-temperature strength and/or ductility, and susceptibility to radiation-induced embrittlement. Oxide-dispersion strengthened nickel superalloys will be produced, characterised and mechanically tested during this project.


Supervisor:
Dr Stella Pedrazzini, Dr Ben Britton. Project partners: Oak Ridge National Lab, Oregon State University.



Start date: October 2020
Duration:
36 months
Position available:
1

Funding:
DTP funding. UK and EU students (who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years prior to the start date).


Deadline:
31 January 2020

>> How to Apply

Summary of the table's contents
Low activation galling-resistant alloys

Nuclear power plant contain many large valves that are typically made of alloys that resist adhesive wear (galling) under high temperature water conditions, i.e. Stellites. These are carbide-reinforced Co-base alloys which show outstanding hardness. It is commonly believed that due to their low stacking fault energy, Co-base matrices perform well because they can twin and work harden, resisting shear and pull-out of the carbide reinforcement. However, Co wear products suffer from neutron activation in the primary circuit, which is undesirable, and so there is an industry-wide search for low-activation replacement matrix alloys. In this project we will develop new matrix materials that can provide such behaviour whilst also providing appropriate oxide films that lubricate the contact surface when exposed to PWR water operating conditions. Techniques used will include 0.5kg-scale ingot melting and processing, galling testing, electron microscopy (incl (S)TEM, EBSD), with the potential to then use advanced characterisation techniques such as atom probe tomography and neutron and synchrotron x-ray diffraction.



Supervisor:
Prof David Dye, Fionn Dunne, David Stewart (Rolls-Royce)

Start date: October 2020
Duration:
36 months
Position available:
1

Funding:
50% funded by Rolls-Royce, incl top-up of bursary to £20k for 4 years.

50% funded by Characterisation CDT, Department or Faculty of Engineering DTA CASE conversion (Home students only).


Deadline:
31 January 2020

>> How to Apply

Summary of the table's contents
 
Micromechanical fundamentals of deformation in Titanium Alloys

Titanium alloys are used in jet engines due to their superior specific high cycle fatigue strength at temperatures up to >500℃. However, they are notch and defect sensitive, and so the development of improved Ti alloys, supporting the airworthiness of the fleet and engine development all rely on improving our understanding of their behaviour against unusual deformation regimes, such as dwell and notch fatigue (stress state).  Our work on these topics has had substantial impact on air safety.  In this area we are primarily concerned with understanding deformation mechanisms and interactions with microstructure. Technique opportunities include the EBSD examination of deformation substructures, (S)TEM, synchrotron x-ray and neutron diffraction, mechanical characterisation (i.e. forging, fatigue) and atom probe tomography (with Oxford or MPIE Dusseldorf).



Supervisor:
Prof David Dye, Trevor Lindley, Prof David Rugg (Rolls-Royce)

Start date: October 2020
Duration:
36 months
Position available:
1

Funding:
50% funded by Rolls-Royce, incl top-up of bursary to £20k for 4 years.

50% funded by Characterisation CDT, Department or Faculty of Engineering DTA CASE conversion (Home students only).


Deadline:
31 January 2020

>> How to Apply

Summary of the table's contents
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Centres for Doctoral Training

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

Imperial College London and University College London

PhD Studentships 

EPSRC and SFI Centre for Doctoral Training in Advanced characterisation of Materials (CDTACM)

Duration: 48 months (starting on 1st October 2020)

 Imperial College London jointly with the University College London and Trinity College Dublin  has a number of four-year fully-funded studentships available. This funding requires you to be a home student*.  Successful applicants will be registered at either Imperial College London or University College London.

The CDT ACM PhD programme offers training in the application of state-of-the-art characterisation techniques to materials challenges in key thematic areas of societal importance such as Energy Materials, Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine, Engineering Materials, and Electronic and Magnetic Materials.  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, training and expertise will also be available by Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Aa well as this 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 receive professional development training delivered by our award-winning Graduate Schools. The world-leading research that you will be involved with 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.

The CDT seeks candidates for October 2020 entry.  You will hold, or be expected to achieve, a Master's degree in addition to a Bachelor's degree (or equivalent) at 2:1 level (or above) in a relevant subject (e.g. Materials, Physics, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Mechanical, Electrical or Chemical Engineering).  Research projects on offer are diverse and successful applicants will choose a project, following discussions with project supervisors. Students will take taught courses at both universities during this three month period. Projects will be available in the following areas: Energy Materials, Biomaterials and Regenerative Medicine, Engineering Materials, Electronic and Magnetic Materials.

To make informal enquires please contact the CDT team on admin@cdt-acm.org

 Applications 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 at admin@cdt-acm.org. Applications that do not provide all this information will not be considered.

 Stage 2: Suitable applicants will be interviewed and, if successful, invited to make a formal application.

 * European Union nationals who have been ordinarily resident in the UK for at least three years prior to starting a PhD studentship. Overseas students with full funding are welcome to apply.

Closing date:  5th January 2020

Interviews will take place week commencing 3rd February 2020

Both ICL and UCL are committed to equality and valuing diversity. Both are Athena SWAN Silver Award winners and Stonewall Diversity Champions. ICL is a Two Ticks Employer and is working in partnership with GIRES to promote respect for trans people. UCL holds a race equality bronze award.


EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Nuclear Energy Futures  EPSRC logo

Applications are invited for four-year fully-funded PhD studentships, there are 12 Studentships available, starting in October 2019 at either Imperial College London, University of Cambridge, University of Bristol, The Open University or Bangor University.

Nuclear power generates the largest fraction of low-carbon electricity in the UK and has a positive impact on the security and stability of our nation's energy supply. As the UK curbs fossil fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, includes a greater proportion of renewable energy, and at the same time electrifies road transport and decarbonises central heating, nuclear power assumes a vital role in any future energy mix as a source of low-carbon baseload electricity.

To ensure nuclear is an important part of a greener and securer future, the skills shortage needs to be addressed, new build and decommissioning costs need to come down, geological disposal must be explored, and the UK has to have the skills to contribute meaningfully to cutting-edge technologies, such as fusion and Gen IV reacto

For more information about the programme and funding options, please visit imperial.ac.uk/nuclear-cdt/programme/, or download our pdf document‌.

Start date:
October 2019
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: 5 August 2019


EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Plastic Electronics  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 the Centre for Doctoral Training in Plastic Electronics

Start date:
TBC
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: For up-to-date offers, please visit the Centre for Doctoral Training in Plastic Electronics programme pages website


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:
TBC
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: Please visit: imperial.ac.uk/theory-and-simulation-of-materials/phd-opportunities/