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Discovery of complex intermetallics as advanced magnetic and electrocatalytic materials (Reference LRC1901)

Project Description

This project involves the experimental design and synthesis of new intermetallic materials and characterisation of their crystal structures and magnetic and electrocatalytic properties. New intermetallic materials are important because they offer unexplored routes to low energy information storage and to solar fuels.

New magnetic states are urgently required to reduce the energy required to store and process information in computing. The discovery of new magnetic materials which have new magnetically ordered states can enable new approaches to low-energy computing, thereby reducing the carbon footprint of information technology and data science. The project will target new intermetallic phases which combine polar and chiral crystal structures with exotic magnetic order, such as skyrmions.

The new intermetallics offer opportunities in other paths to a low-carbon future. The ability to electrochemically reduce CO2 to hydrocarbon fuels and to other molecules key to chemical manufacturing such alcohols is a revolutionary promise that is currently hindered by the lack of suitable materials to catalyse the reduction. Owing to the complexity of the processes involved, most studies have focused on investigating copper metal, where efforts often centre around surface modification or nanostructuring. Copper metal is currently the highest performance material, but given the wide variety of complex materials able to be prepared, this provides an excellent opportunity to search for potential electrocatalysts in the complex space of intermetallics, where properties can be more easily tuned through their rich structural and compositional chemistry.

This project will involve the synthesis of existing and new intermetallic phases, accelerated by working with computational design experts, followed by structural characterization and rapid screening for magnetic and electrocatalyst performance. You will have the opportunity to work at international synchrotron X-ray and neutron scattering facilities. Experimental work will be enabled by instrumentation that is already established and available within the participating research groups, together with world-class characterization and synthetic facilities available within the Materials Innovation Factory. Owing to the multi-faceted nature of this dynamic project, the student will work closely with computer scientists, inorganic chemists, physicists, engineers, and material scientists to discover new magnetic materials for information storage and electrocatalyst materials for CO2 and CO reduction.

Qualifications: Applications are welcomed from students with a 2:1 or higher master’s degree or equivalent in Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, or Materials Science.

This position will remain open until a suitable candidate has been found.

Informal enquiries should be addressed to Prof Matthew Rosseinsky

Please apply by completing the online postgraduate research application form:

Please ensure you quote the following reference on your application: Discovery of complex intermetallics as advanced magnetic and electrocatalytic materials (Reference LRC1901)

Funding Notes

The award is primarily available to students resident in the UK/EU and will pay full tuition fees and a maintenance grant for 3.5years (£14,777 pa in 2018/19). Non-EU nationals are not eligible for this position and applications from non-EU candidates will not be considered unless you have your own funding.


Bifunctional alloys for the electroreduction of CO2 and CO. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 18, 9194-9201 (2016);

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