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Industrially-viable salt-assisted growth of two-dimensional Xenes

Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering

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Dr Matthew Cole , Dr Adelina Ilie No more applications being accepted Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

The University of Bath is inviting applications for the following PhD project commencing in October 2021.

Funding is available to candidates who qualify for ‘Home’ fee status. Following the UK’s departure from the European Union, the rules governing fee status have changed and, therefore, candidates from the EU/EEA are advised to check their eligibility before applying. Please see the Funding Eligibility section below for more information.

Project team: Dr Matthew Cole, Dr Adelina Ilie

Informal queries should be directed to: Dr Matthew Cole - [Email Address Removed]


Nanotechnology continues to dramatically shape the modern world and is a proving an essential tool in solving many of the World’s most pressing challenges, from responsible and sustainable energy use to advanced healthcare. Materials can now be grown atom-by-atom, targeting applications with entirely new form and function. 2D nanomaterials present exciting platforms upon which to build a new generation of electronics; from flexible transparent circuits for healthcare monitoring, to new forms of nano-electronic switching devices, their unique properties have unprecedented potential across many industries. Nevertheless, much work remains on understanding and scaling the growth of these new materials, many of which have yet to be produced in the laboratory and even fewer have gained any industry traction, often as a result of esoteric labbased approaches to production.

This project will explore the growth of the new 2D nanomaterial group, the Xenes, focussing particularly on the new 2D Boron material, Borophene. Through the use of new salt-assisted growth approaches, this project will use the Nano Lab’s established chemical vapour deposition reactors with the applicant developing commercially viable and scalable growth and transfer methodologies of the as-grown 2D materials. Cosupervision with Dr Ilie will enable access to state-of-the-art scanning probe microscopes for investigation and correlation of atomic and electronic structure of the synthesised materials, directly demonstrating wide ranging unique physical phenomena.

Interfacing between the Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, and the Centre for Biosensors, Bioelectronics and Biodevices, the Vacuum Nano Electronics Research group headed by Dr. Cole is a dynamic, multi-disciplinary, applied research group producing globally impactful technological solutions through the development of applied nanotechnologies, leveraging unique 2D and 1D nanomaterial growth reactors and inhouse measurement tools. This expertise is complemented through a synergetic relationship with Dr Ilie’s group in Physics, with its international reputation in both fundamental science of 2D materials and their translational applications.

The successful candidate will be interested in nanomaterials and nanotechnology with a preference for experimental work. A hands-on approach and a background in nanomaterial growth or advanced metrology are advantageous, though not essential. The student will have the opportunity to design entirely new experiments; and will develop a balanced range of nanomaterial growth and physical characterisation, device integration, and measurements skills, through engagements across multiple University departments, and with international collaborators in China and the USA, as well as London, Oxford and Cambridge.

Candidate Requirements:

Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a First Class or good Upper Second Class Honours degree (or the equivalent). A master’s level qualification would also be advantageous.


Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Electronic & Electrical Engineering. Please ensure that you state the full project title and lead supervisor name on the application form.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found here:

Expected start date: 4 October 2021


Funding Eligibility:

In order to be considered for a studentship, you must qualify as a ‘Home’ student. The UK Government has not yet published the relevant Fee Regulations for courses commencing in 2021/22; however, our current understanding is that the main categories of students likely to qualify for ‘Home’ fees are (subject to confirmation by the UK Government):

·        UK nationals (meeting residency requirement*)

·        Irish nationals resident in the UK/Ireland since at least September 2018

·        EU/EEA applicants with settled or pre-settled status in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme (meeting residency requirement*)

·        Applicants with indefinite leave to enter/remain in the UK (meeting residency requirement*)

*Residency requirement: in most cases applicants must have lived in the UK, EU, EEA or Switzerland continuously since September 2018.

EU/EEA citizens who live outside the UK are unlikely to be eligible for ‘Home’ fees and funding.

Up-to-date information may be found on our fee status guidance webpage and on the UKCISA website

Funding Notes

A studentship includes ‘Home’ tuition fees, a stipend (£15,609 per annum, 2021/22 rate) and research/training expenses (£1,000 per annum) for up to 3.5 years.
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