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PhD in Fundamental Physics: Advanced Charged Particle Dynamics in Electromagnetic Fields

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

Charged particle dynamics (also known as charged particle optics) is concerned with the manipulation of charged particles (e.g., electrons, protons, ions) within an electric and/or magnetic field. In charged particle optics the simulation and prediction of beam trajectories is of great interest for design purposes, such as focusing, guiding elements, filtering, transportation lines, particle accelerators, etc. Especially in low energy beams, perturbing effects such as space charge and complex fringe field interactions occur which are difficult to model and impede the accuracy of predictions. New approaches are required to improve the accuracy and performance of charged particle trajectory models.

The deflection of charged particles by electric and/or magnetic fields has widespread and important connotations in physical sciences, engineering, life sciences and for a wide range of technologies An understanding of the electrical forces at play between charges is essential for fundamental physics and has been applied to a multitude of high-tech applications, from particle accelerators, electron microscopes, electronics, nuclear fusion reactors, magnetrons and plasma physics in general, through to medical diagnostics (e.g., radiation therapy, such as proton beam therapy), electron beam welding, mass spectrometry and many other areas.
In this PhD project you will undertake research examining (and applying) the underpinning force laws that govern the fundamentals of physics and electromagnetism. You will examine direct action (also known as action at a distance) electrodynamic theories, such as Weber’s force, that do not involve (directly) the calculation of electric and magnetic field entities, nor leakage flux or vector potential. Weber’s force law can be thought of as an extension of Coulomb’s force law for charges in relative motion. There is scope to tailor the precise investigations of this PhD research to match the interests of the PhD candidate. Candidates who have a predominant interest in either theoretical or experimental work (or both) are encouraged to apply. For reference, interested applicants can peruse some of our recent investigations that are available in the public domain, such as [1, 2]. Due to the nature of this research it is likely to result in new inventions and the University is very supportive in this regard (with respect to supporting patent applications). This project has scope to be focused more towards theory, modelling or new experiments, depending upon the interests/background of the applicant.

You should have a degree in physical sciences, mathematics or an engineering discipline. Masters level students are encouraged to apply. If you have a strong Bachelor’s degree or have relevant experience (e.g., prior project experience, work experience, publications, demonstrable interest in the topic, etc.), you are also encouraged to apply. In exceptional circumstances those with a non-traditional educational background will be considered dependent upon relevant experience. A strong interest and familiarity with electromagnetism, electronics, applied mathematics and/or fundamental physics is desirable. Applicants will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

If you are interested, please email Prof Simon Maher () with the project title in the subject of your email and include a copy of your CV.

Funding Notes

The project is open worldwide, to applicants of any nationality. It is unfunded and applicants are encouraged to contact the Principal Supervisor directly to discuss their application and the project.
The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for tuition fees and living expenses as well as research costs of £3000 per year.

A fee bursary may be available for well qualified and motivated applicants.

Details of costs can be found on the University website.


[1] R. Smith, F. Jjunju, I. Young, S. Taylor, and Simon Maher. "A physical model for low-frequency electromagnetic induction in the near field based on direct interaction between transmitter and receiver electrons." Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 472, no. 2191 (2016): 20160338.
[2] R. Smith, F. Jjunju, and Simon Maher. "Evaluation of electron beam deflections across a solenoid using Weber-Ritz and Maxwell-Lorentz electrodynamics." Progress In Electromagnetics Research 151 (2015): 83-93.

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