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(A*STAR) Exploring novel f-block dopants for high-performance thermoelectric materials

Department of Chemistry

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Dr J Skelton , Prof N Kaltsoyannis No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This project is part of a joint four-year PhD program between University of Manchester (U.K.) and A*STAR (Singapore). The student will spend the 1st and 4th years of the Programme at Manchester and the 2nd and 3rd years at A*STAR. The focus of the project is to use complementary theoretical and experimental approaches to design new high-performance inorganic thermoelectrics (TEs) by doping or alloying flagship TEs, such as the binary chalcogenides, perovskites and Skutterudites/clathrates, with f-block elements. Electronic-structure and lattice-dynamics modelling using periodic density-functional theory (DFT) will be used to screen for potential dopants, and the most promising materials will be synthesized, characterised and developed during the experimental program. State-of-the-art modelling techniques will then be used to interpret the experimental measurements and derive detailed insight into how the doping affects the thermoelectric performance of the host materials. The ultimate aim of the program is to develop a well-rounded materials scientist with expertise in both theoretical and experimental studies of thermoelectrics and other related thermal/semiconductor materials.

Entry Requirements:

Applicants must have obtained, or be about to obtain, at least an upper second class honours degree or the equivalent qualification gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science, engineering or technology.

UK applicants interested in this project should make direct contact with the Principal Supervisor to arrange to discuss the project further as soon as possible. International applicants (including EU nationals) must ensure they meet the academic eligibility criteria (including English Language) as outlined before contacting potential supervisors to express an interest in their project. Eligibility can be checked via the University Country Specific information page ( 

Some restrictions apply to applicants from certain Asian countries. In general, students from Europe, the Americas, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Korea and Japan are eligible to apply for the programme. Unfortunately, we cannot accept applications from south-east Asian countries such as Singapore, China and Malaysia.

If your country is not listed you must contact the Doctoral Academy Admissions Team providing a detailed CV (to include academic qualifications – stating degree classification(s) and dates awarded) and relevant transcripts. 

Following the review of your qualifications and with support from potential supervisor(s), you will be informed whether you can submit a formal online application.

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester and is at the heart of all of our activities. The full Equality, diversity and inclusion statement can be found on the website

Funding Notes

Funding covers tuition fees (UKRI rate) and stipend for four years. The University of Manchester aims to support the most outstanding applicants from outside the UK. We are able to offer a limited number of scholarships that will enable full studentships to be awarded to international applicants. These full studentships will only be awarded to exceptional quality candidates, due to the competitive nature of this scheme. Candidates will be required to split their time between Manchester and Singapore, as outlined on


• Suwardi, Ady, et al. "Achieving High Thermoelectric Quality Factor Towards High Figure of Merit in GeTe." Materials Today Physics (2020): 100239.
• Suwardi, Ady, et al. "Tailoring the phase transition temperature to achieve high-performance cubic GeTe-based thermoelectrics." Journal of Materials Chemistry A
• Suwardi, Ady, et al. "Inertial effective mass as an effective descriptor for thermoelectrics via data-driven evaluation." Journal of Materials Chemistry A 7.41 (2019):
• Rahim, Warda et al. "α-Bi2Sn2O7: a potential room temperature n-type oxide thermoelectric." Journal of Materials Chemistry A 8 (2020): 16405-16420
• Skelton, Jonathan. "Lattice dynamics of Pnma Sn(S1-xSex) solid
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