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Larger area semiconductor detectors based on novel inorganic polycrystalline perovskite materials - Ref: 1861683

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  • Full or part time
    Dr R Moss
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The UCL Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering is inviting applications for a studentship in the area of radiation detector development. The studentship is funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Nuclear Security Science Network (NuSec) and the UCL Department of Medical Physical and Biomedical Engineering.

This is a collaborative project between UCL Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, UCL Institute of Materials Discovery (IMD) and the University of Surrey Physics Department. Each organisation host a range of internationally-leading research groups covering a broad range of activities which provides a highly stimulating multidisciplinary environment for learning and scientific research.

The host department at UCL holds an Athena Swan Bronze Award which recognises and celebrates good practice and commitment to advancing women's careers in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) in higher education and research. The award reflects UCL’s commitment to the advancement and promotion of diversity and equality.

Studentship Description

Nuclear security relies on being able to detect sources of radiation in different situations including looking for radiological/nuclear materials being illegally imported into the UK; diagnosing a suspect device; or assisting in post-event operations. This project looks to exploit new developments in solid state materials that could provide a cost effective and reliable alternative to existing detectors. Semiconductor perovskite materials have grown in popularity due to their high efficiency for light conversion in solar energy technologies and can be easily and cheaply produced. A surprising finding from our previous work is that a functional radiation detector can be created by simply pressing the powdered material into pellets. The aim of the project is to build on these findings to make larger area detectors that can be used for the detection of radiological substances. The project will concentrate on developing detectors with X-ray/gamma sensitivity, however adding neutron sensitivity will also be considered which could create exciting opportunities where mixed perovskites and/or layered detector structures could provide gamma-neutron co-detection.

The student will work with colleagues in the IMD to develop a robust method to produce the quantity of polycrystalline perovskite powder required for the project and will produce varying compositions. The student will use the facilities available at the University of Surrey to characterise the band gap and other properties of these materials. Then, at UCL, the student will create functional radiation detectors which will be characterised for X-ray/gamma ray and neutron response under different conditions. The student will experiment with different configurations to determine if additional information can be obtained such as directionality or crude energy resolution.

The closing date for applications is 31 May 2020 and the student must be available to start on 28 September 2020. Interviews will be conducted in June/July 2020.

Applicants must have, or expect to obtain, a UK first class or 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent international qualifications or experience) in an appropriate technical subject

Applicants must have a clear interest in radiation detection and measurement; synthesis and characterisation of new materials; and device fabrication. The applicant would be expected to have the following essential skills:
Well-developed experimental skills and familiarity with working safely and cleanly in a laboratory and knowledge of radiation interactions in matter. Sufficient level of mathematics and numerical skills with experience of computer programming for data processing (e.g. in Matlab or similar). Creative and critical thinking, excellent writing and oral communication skills. Self-management and good working habits and capability to work independently and used to take initiative.

The following skills are not essential but would be desirable:
Basic electronics and writing software for hardware control (such as Arduino programming). 3D modelling and 3D printing and Monte Carlo modelling.

The studentship would suit applicants with a background in physical chemistry or material science, however those with physics, chemistry and engineering degrees who are interested in developing cross-disciplinary skills are also encouraged to apply.


If you have any scientific queries please contact Dr Robert Moss ([Email Address Removed]). Applications (including a covering letter, CV and names of two referees) should be sent to Miss Mohini Nair ([Email Address Removed]), who will also be happy to handle any informal enquiries.

Funding Notes

Funding will be for 3.5 years, with a tax free stipend of approximately £17,280 per year plus UK/EU-level university fees. Applications are open to UK and EU students only subject to the UKRI
Eligibility Criteria (see for further information).

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