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Atomically precise quantum molecular materials

About This PhD Project

Project Description

The goal of this experimental project is to develop new materials for use in sub-molecular scale electronics and as surface templates. This will be achieved by realising step-by-step on-surface synthesis of stable conjugated 1D and 2D molecular structures on electrically isolated surfaces. Due to their quantum mechanical nature, single molecules provide a fascinating playground for exploring and tuning electrical, optical and catalytic properties, with the promise of pioneering completely new fields of quantum technology.

At present, on-surface synthesis is reliant on the use of metal surfaces to catalyse reactions, which quench molecular electronic properties, severely limiting their broad applicability. You will instead exploit single-atom-catalysts (SACs) and recently developed atomic quantum clusters (AQCs) to activate covalent coupling reactions on non-conducting surfaces, where molecular density of states is largely unaffected by strong surface binding, enabling high tunability of electronic properties. We will use the unique chemical structure of AQCs to overcome catalyst poisoning and cluster formation, preparing samples across a range of cryogenic and elevated temperatures to control surface desorption and removal of reaction by-products, overcoming several known challenges for developing atomic scale molecular structures.

You will get the opportunity to become trained in a broad range of state-of-the-art techniques. This will include atomic force microscopy (AFM) facilities capable of imaging and characterising molecular and surface structure down to individual atoms and bonds and characterising nanoscale electronic and chemical properties. This work will take place in world-leading facilities including Lancaster’s Quantum Technology Centre and the award winning multimillion pound IsoLab, providing some of the most advanced environments for characterisation in the world.

You will work in a vibrant research group, whose research has been shortlisted for the Times Higher Education award for ‘STEM project of the year’ in 2019. You will also become highly trained in ultra-high vacuum equipment, molecular self-assembly, X-ray spectroscopy, scanning tunnelling microscopy and clean room usage. Students are also expected to publish high impact journal publications, and present their work at international meetings and conferences, with significant training providing excellent experience and prospects for future development and opportunities.

The Physics Department is holder of Athena SWAN Silver award and JUNO Championship status and is strongly committed to fostering diversity within its community as a source of excellence, cultural enrichment, and social strength. We welcome those who would contribute to the further diversification of our department.

Please contact Dr Samuel Jarvis () for any additional enquiries. You can also apply directly at https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/physics/study/phd/ stating the title of the project and the name of the supervisor.

Closing Date
Applications will be accepted until the post is filled

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