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Electronic Structure of Energy Materials

   Department of Physics

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  Dr B Mendis  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Renewable Energy Northeast Universities (ReNU) is a collaborative doctoral training programme run by the Universities of Northumbria, Newcastle and Durham. In addition to undertaking an individual scientific research project at one of the three partner Universities, doctoral candidates will engage with added value training opportunities, for example in business and innovation through a 4-year training programme that has been designed to maximise the benefits of a cohort approach to doctoral training. The start date is 1st October 2023.

Electronic structure is fundamental to the development of new energy materials, as well as optimising existing technologies. X-ray Compton scattering is a widely used method to measure the electronic structure of solids. We have recently shown that Compton scattering measurements can be performed at nanometre spatial resolution using high energy electron beams in a transmission electron microscope (TEM). This enables exploration of some fundamental electronic structure phenomena in energy materials, such as band gap grading, quantum confinement effects and electronic properties of interfaces and grain boundaries.

In this project you will use electron Compton scattering to investigate the nano-scale electronic structure of a range of different photovoltaic and light emitting diode materials. Electronic structure results will be complemented with the local chemistry and structure of the material, also measured in the TEM. You will also perform CASTEP density functional theory (DFT) simulations to compare experiment with theory. There is scope to extend the work to other energy materials, such as batteries. The project is ideal for a student with a background in physics, chemistry or materials science, and who has an interest in the fundamental aspects of energy materials.

For informal enquiries, please contact Dr Buddhika Mendis [Email Address Removed]

The application closing date is 17th February 2023 and it is anticipated interviews will take place later in the month. Please note that interviews will be online.

Eligibility and How to Apply

Our eligibility requirements are:

•       Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.

•       If required, an IELTS score of 6.5 with no component under 6.0.

·       Two satisfactory academic references.

•       Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Durham or elsewhere.

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system.

  • Create an account and click ‘Postgraduate Apply’ on the top ribbon.
  • Search for ‘EPSRC CDT’ in Course and select Renewable Energy Northeast Universities (EPSRC CDT) starting in 2023/24. 
  • Complete the application form, ensuring the following:
  • On the funding tab select ‘yes’ you are applying for a scholarship, select ‘Other’, write RENU/Mendis in the name of the scholarship, and select 1st October 2023 as the start date. No scholarship documents are required.
  • On the project course details tab write RENU/Mendis in Field of Study.
  • Please include an application letter summarising your motivation and suitability for the project.
  • Please ensure you follow all of these steps to ensure your application is considered.


Funding notes

Home and International students (inc. EU) are welcome to apply. The studentship is available to Home and International students, and includes a full stipend at UKRI rates (for 2020/21 full time study, this was £15,609 pa) and full tuition fees. Also, significant additional funding is included to cover research costs and local, national and international travel such as conferences and exchanges. Note that these studentships will be awarded on a competitive basis between projects. We anticipate that up to 5 awards will be made for projects hosted at Durham. 

Please note there are a limited number of full international scholarships available. Further information about how EPSRC classifies international fee status please see TGC 5.2.5 UKRI-021122-TrainingGrantTermsAndConditions.pdf

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