We are seeking applications for a highly motivated and enthusiastic PhD candidate to join the research group of Dr Lucy Clark in the School of Chemistry at the University of Birmingham. This opportunity will provide full fees and stipend for a 3.5-year PhD in Chemistry for candidates from the UK or EU. The successful candidate will work within Dr Clark’s interdisciplinary research team and contribute towards their goal of quantum materials discovery and exploration.
A symbolic model system in quantum materials research is that of the S = ½ kagomé magnet, a two-dimensional, magnetic network of corner-sharing triangles of interacting S = ½ magnetic moments. The low-dimensional quantum magnetism associated with the S = ½ kagomé network means that it is predicted to display many fascinating emergent phenomena pertinent to next-generation quantum technologies. However, from a chemical perspective, material realisations of the S = ½ kagomé magnet are rare and their properties poorly understood.
To tackle this, we have recently synthesised a family of metal-organic framework compounds with S = ½ kagomé layers of Cu2+ ions well separated by bidentate pillaring linkers. Our initial characterisation of this family reveals a remarkable modification of the net magnetic exchanges upon varying organic linker, suggesting an unprecedented level of chemical control over the properties of this elusive class of quantum matter.
In this PhD project, the successful candidate will be trained in advanced materials characterisation methods—including work at central facilities, such as the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source—to study in detail these new compounds and rationalise our preliminary observations with the support of computational modelling. In addition, the successful candidate will gain experience in materials synthesis by seeking to extend the current family of MOFs to introduce chemical and structural features that will facilitate efficient exfoliation of these bulk materials into two-dimensional metal-organic framework nanosheets. In this way, the successful candidate will contribute to the tantalising prospect of realising a new paradigm for quantum materials research.
Candidates with a First Class or 2.1 (or equivalent) undergraduate or master’s degree in Chemistry, Physics or Materials Science are encouraged to apply. This position is particularly suited to individuals with broad interests in solid-state chemistry or condensed matter physics and who would like to experience working at the interface between these two disciplines.
Informal enquiries to Dr Lucy Clark are strongly encouraged.