Are you applying to universities? | SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE Are you applying to universities? | SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE

2D molecular networks with topological properties

   Department of Physics

This project is no longer listed on and may not be available.

Click here to search for PhD studentship opportunities
  Dr Adelina Ilie  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

The University of Bath is inviting applications for the following PhD project under the supervision of Dr Adelina Ilie in the Department of Physics and Dr Dan Pantos in the Department of Chemistry.

Overview of the Project:

Bottom-up synthesized covalent two-dimensional (2D) molecular materials can enable flexible design of their band structure unmatched by traditional, sheet-like 2D materials (graphene and its inorganic counterparts). Such 2D molecular materials are created from pre-designed molecules as precursor building blocks that are allowed to self-assemble on surfaces, to indeed create networks with bespoke electronic properties controlled by the arrangement of the molecules therein. The symmetry of the resulting networks depends on the symmetry of their molecular precursors: these define the type of network vertices (e.g., with three or four branches), and their interconnection creates networks with well classified, archetypal topology.

Topological networks foster graphene-like energy bands (dispersing linearly, as in graphene), as well as flat bands that can engender exotic, many-body phenomena such as magnetic order. Furthermore, such networks, with the right design, will enable the emergence of non-trivial topological states – in which case they are called topological insulators – that are key for emergent applications in spintronics and quantum computation. For example, in 2D materials, a non-trivial topological state ensures that electron spin transport around the edges of the material is unperturbed by defects, hence is robust to such structural imperfections – of great technological consequence.

Here, we will create 2D p-conjugated topological networks, as well as molecular topological insulators. We will show proof-of-concept of a generic strategy for introducing the necessary topological “ingredients” in our networks. Furthermore, an important challenge in such organic systems is introducing spin-orbit interaction, key for enabling the topological insulator state.

We will build on previous successful work between Dr Adelina Ilie (Lead supervisor, Physics) and Dr Dan Pantos (Chemistry). The core work will be undertaken in the Physics Department: 2D network synthesis (in a controlled, Ultra-High Vacuum environment), atomically-resolved scanning probe microscopy, XPS and ARPES for both structural and electronic characterization of the on-surface assembled networks; and demonstration of topological properties in bespoke structures/experiments. Specifically designed molecular precursors will be obtained through collaboration with Dr Pantos. Theory collaborations within department and abroad will support the project. Overall, this is an excellent opportunity for training at the interface between quantum technologies, condensed matter physics, and 2D nanomaterials.

Project keywords: 2D covalent molecular networks, topological states, topological insulators, spintronics, quantum technologies, scanning probe microscopy, XPS, ARPES.

Candidate Requirements:

Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a First Class or good Upper Second Class Honours degree (or the equivalent). A master’s level qualification would also be advantageous.

Non-UK applicants must meet our English language entry requirement.

Enquiries and Applications:

Informal enquiries are welcomed and should be directed to Dr Adelina Ilie (email [Email Address Removed]).

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Physics.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found on our website.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion:

We value a diverse research environment and aim to be an inclusive university, where difference is celebrated and respected. We welcome and encourage applications from under-represented groups.

If you have circumstances that you feel we should be aware of that have affected your educational attainment, then please feel free to tell us about it in your application form. The best way to do this is a short paragraph at the end of your personal statement.

Funding Notes

Self-funded students only.


Nanoscale, 2022, DOI:10.1039/d1nr07194g

How good is research at University of Bath in Physics?

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities
Search Suggestions
Search suggestions

Based on your current searches we recommend the following search filters.

PhD saved successfully
View saved PhDs