Each year Royce runs an internship scheme to give researchers the opportunity to host an undergraduate student on a summer research project in materials science. Researchers are invited to apply for funding which will contribute towards the cost of running an internship within their department or research group.

Throughout the summer months,  researchers work with their student interns to craft research projects, establish them in the laboratory, and help them work alongside other group members. Following the conclusion of the projects, Royce invites all students and their mentors to join us at a virtual student conference, where they have an opportunity to share the work they conducted during their project.

Current projects for 2023:

Royce at Imperial

Material-dependent friction properties for aero-engine applications

Title of project: Material-dependent friction properties for aero-engine applications

Project Description: This project addresses the long-standing industrial problem of friction modelling in aero-engine vibrating joints, which was defined in a series of recent workshops “a grand challenge” with high impact on society and industry. An estimated 23% of global energy consumption is for example consumed wastefully in friction, resulting in higher CO2 emissions. This affects all the organisations that must target their Net Zero goals as set by international policies. Simulations are therefore needed to optimise the frictional response of materials under demanding environments, such as aero-engine joints subjected to high temperatures and vibration levels. Due to a lack of understanding of friction in these demanding environments, the reliability of simulations is still limited. 

The goal of the project is to improve the current understanding of friction for more accurate modelling of vibrating joints. An experimental test will be designed and conducted on a fretting rig in the Department of Mechanical Engineering of Imperial to test the friction behaviour of different materials. The goal is to measure contact parameters under different loading conditions and compare the results with state-of-the-art modelling approaches. The preliminary findings obtained from this comparison will improve the current understanding of friction properties to be used for optimised material design in vibrating joints.
Benefit for the student:
  • Conduct experimental and modelling work.
  • Use Matlab to post-process data and learn how to best present complex information.
  • Work in a research group.
  • Potential publication should the project be successful.
  • Methods learned are applicable in a wide range of industries, including the turbomachinery, automotive, maritime, space and energy industries.


This 8-week position is funded by the Royce Undergraduate Internship Scheme 2023 and comes with a stipend of £3500. 

This project is supervised by Dr Alfredo Fantetti. Please email Dr Fantetti to register your interest. 

Chiral Charge Transfer Complexes for low power spin-selective quantum technologies

Title of project: Chiral Charge Transfer Complexes for low power spin-selective quantum technologies 

Expected start date of project: 01/07/2023 

Expected end date of project: 01/09/2023 

Project Description: This research project will investigate the optical and electronic properties of chiral molecular charge transfer crystals (CTCs). CTCs are built from electron-rich donor and electron-poor acceptor molecules, and can demonstrate metallic-like conductivity, ambipolar charge-transport and nonlinear optical properties. They have recently been investigated for application in low-power, high-performance field-effect transistors, photovoltaics, and light emitting diodes. Recently, twisted CTCs have shown outstanding charge transport, but CTCs built from chiral donor or acceptor molecules have seldom been reported.

Here, CTCs will be grown using helicene molecules. These polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are inherently chiral due to the helical shape they adopt. The twisted π-conjugated framework can give rise to strong chiral optical (chiroptical) properties, including strong optical rotation, circular dichroism, and circularly polarised luminescence. The appointed researcher will use solution-based approaches to grow chiral CTCs based on helicene donor/acceptor molecules and investigate their chiroptical and electronic properties. We expect such materials to find application in innovative, sustainable device materials and low-power quantum technologies. 

The student researcher will gain skills in crystal growth, thin film fabrication, spectroscopy, microscopy, and electrical device characterisation. They will be involved with all aspects of our research groups, including group meetings, journal clubs and outreach. They will gain skills in project planning, cutting-edge characterisation techniques, analysis, and presentation. 


This 8-week position is funded by the Royce Undergraduate Internship Scheme 2023, and comes with a stipend of £3500. 

This project is co-supervised by Dr Max Attwood and Dr Jess Wade. Please email for more information and please attach your CV to register your interest.