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Design and Discovery of Functional Inorganic Materials


Project Description

New inorganic materials are needed to advance technologies such as batteries for electric vehicles and grid storage, and to develop basic science.

This PhD project is an exciting opportunity for the experimental synthesis and detailed characterisation of new inorganic solids. The project will combine synthetic solid state chemistry, advanced structural analysis (crystallography) and measurement of physical properties, with the opportunity to focus on one or more of these aspects during the project. You will work closely with a strong team of computational and experimental material chemists working together in the discovery of new materials. The student will be part of the £8.6 million EPSRC Programme Grant in Integration of Computation and Experiment for Accelerated Materials Discovery, and based in the newly-opened Materials Innovation Factory (https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/materials-innovation-factory/) at the University of Liverpool. As well as obtaining knowledge and experience in materials synthesis and crystallographic techniques, the student will develop skills in teamwork and scientific communication as computational and experimental researchers within the team work closely together. There are extensive opportunities to use synchrotron X-ray and neutron scattering facilities.

Applications are welcomed from candidates with a strong undergraduate interest and/or background in solid state chemistry, condensed matter physics, materials science or related fields.

The inorganic materials chemistry group, led by Prof Rosseinsky at the University of Liverpool (https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/chemistry/research/rosseinsky-group/about/), focusses its research on the discovery of new solid inorganic compounds. Recently, the use of computational materials chemistry has accelerated this materials discovery process, leading to the synthesis of a range of novel metal oxides with a variety of functional properties1–7. These successes have shown that the process of computer aided materials discovery relies on a close working relationship between computational and experimental researchers within the group, which is recognized in the EPSRC Programme Grant in Integration of Computation and Experiment for Accelerated Materials Discovery, and the decision to bring together theoretical and experimental researchers within the Materials Innovation Factory and the Leverhulme Centre for Functional Materials Design at the University of Liverpool. The successful candidate will participate in this relationship, using their experimental skills in close collaboration with the computational excellence present within the research group, to accelerate the discovery of new materials. The research will be performed in the newly opened Materials Innovation Factory with 2750 m2 of top-quality research space on the top floor of the building.
The funding for this position may be a University of Liverpool GTA or an EPSRC DTP studentship. Applications from candidates meeting the eligibility requirements of the EPSRC are welcome - http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/skills/students/help/eligibility/.

Informal enquiries should be addressed to Troy Manning ().

Funding Notes

The award will pay full tuition fees and a maintenance grant for 3.5 years. The maintenance grant will be £14,777 pa for 2018-19.

Depending on the successful applicant (EU or non-EU) this studentship would include a commitment to work up to 144 hours per academic year to help with teaching-related activities in modules currently taught in the Department of Chemistry, as assigned by the Head of Department or his representative. The award will pay full home/EU tuition fees and a maintenance grant for 3.5 years. Non-EU applicants may have to contribute to the higher non-EU overseas fee.

References

C Collins, M S Dyer, M J Pitcher, G F S Whitehead, M Zanella, P Mandal, J B Claridge, G R Darling, & M J Rosseinsky, Accelerated discovery of two crystal structure types in a complex inorganic phase field, Nature 546 (2017) 280-284
Q D Gibson, M S Dyer, G F S Whitehead, J Alaria, M J Pitcher, H J Edwards, J B Claridge, M Zanella, K Dawson, T D Manning, et al. Bi4O4Cu1.7Se2.7Cl0.3: Intergrowth of BiOCuSe and Bi2O2Se Stabilized by the Addition of a Third Anion, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 139 (2017) 15568-15571
H C Sansom, G F S Whitehead, M S Dyer, M Zanella, T D Manning, M J Pitcher, T J Whittles, V R Dhanak, J Alaria, J B Claridge, et al., AgBiI4 as a Lead-Free Solar Absorber with Potential Application in Photovoltaics, Chem. Mater. 29 (2017) 1538-1549
P Mandal, M J Pitcher, J Alaria, H Niu, P Borisov, P Stamenov, J. B. Claridge, & M J Rosseinsky, Designing switchable polarization and magnetization at room temperature in an oxide, Nature 525 (2015) 363-366
M J Pitcher, P Mandal, M S Dyer, J Alaria, P Borisov, H Niu, J B Claridge, & M J Rosseinsky, Tilt engineering of spontaneous polarization and magnetization above 300 K in a bulk layered perovskite, Science 347 (2015) 420–424
J Alaria, P Borisov, M S Dyer, T D Manning, S Lepadatu, M G Cain, E D Mishina, N E Sherstyuk, N A Ilyin, J Hadermann, D Lederman, J B Claridge, & M J Rosseinsky, Engineered spatial inversion symmetry breaking in an oxide heterostructure built from isosymmetric room-temperature magnetically ordered components, Chem. Sci. 5 (2014) 1599–1610
M S Dyer, C Collins, D Hodgeman, P A Chater, A Demont, S Romani, R Sayers, M F Thomas, J B Claridge, G R Darling, & M J Rosseinsky, Computationally Assisted Identification of Functional Inorganic Materials, Science 340 (2013) 847–852.


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