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Discovery of new transparent conducting materials

Project Description

An opportunity for a 3.5 year PhD position supported by NSG Group towards the discovery of new transparent conducting materials. This project aims to develop new transparent conducting materials for optoelectronic applications on glass. Currently used fluorine doped tin oxide is approaching its technological limitations and new materials are required to maintain the pace of efficiency and performance improvements in thin film PV devices, energy saving glazing and electronic displays and lighting. A current project sponsored by NSG Group is using computational methods to predict the composition and structure of new transparent conducting materials and this PhD studentship will be complementary to this existing project.

The PhD could take one of two routes depending on the skills and interests of the candidate; either:
1) Experimental: using the outputs of the computational prediction study mentioned above the student will attempt the synthesis, thin film deposition and property measurements of the materials. Bulk synthesis of the material will be followed by pulsed laser deposition (PLD) to prepare high quality films on single crystal and glass substrates for characterisation and property measurements. Further development will employ other thin film deposition methods suitable for large-scale production on glass substrates e.g. chemical vapour deposition, magnetron sputtering, spray pyrolysis etc. in collaboration with NSG Group and will require use of the laboratories at the NSG Group Technical Centre at Lathom, Lancashire. There are extensive opportunities to use synchrotron X-ray and neutron scattering facilities.
2) Data mining and machine learning: the project will develop methods for searching databases of known materials that display transparent conducting properties that have not been explored for this application, Machine Learning techniques will also be applied to databases of materials properties to allow the discovery of new materials with transparent conducting properties
As well as obtaining knowledge and experience in materials synthesis and crystallographic techniques or computational chemistry methods, the student will develop skills in teamwork and scientific communication as computational and experimental researchers within the team work closely together.

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

The inorganic materials chemistry group, led by Prof Rosseinsky at the University of Liverpool (, 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 properties. 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.

Please apply by completing the online postgraduate research application form. Please ensure you quote the following reference on your application: Discovery of new transparent conducting materials

Funding Notes

The award will pay full tuition fees and a maintenance grant (UKRI National Minimum Doctoral Stipend for 2019/20 is £15,009 pa). Depending on the successful applicant 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.


1. 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
2. J L Stoner, P A E Murgatroyd, M O'Sullivan, M S Dyer, T D Manning, J B Claridge, M J Rosseinsky and J Alaria, Chemical Control of Correlated Metals as Transparent Conductors Adv. Funct. Mater. 2019, 1808609
3. 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
4. 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
5. 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
6. 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
7. 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
8. 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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