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PhD in Transmission Electron Microscopy for Sustainable Catalysis

   Department of Materials

   Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Catalysis is a key technology for multiple industries and will play a critical role to achieve net zero ambitions. In 2020 bp set a goal of being a net zero company by 2050 or sooner and helping the world get to net zero. Similarly, JM has a sustainability framework that includes reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2025.

This PhD position will be part of a large collaborative project between Cardiff University, The University of Manchester, bp and Johnson Matthey, co-funded by EPSRC and industry. The aim of the project is to develop a platform of new sustainable catalyst technologies that will enable clean growth and a low carbon future. This wide collaborative project will study several catalytic systems (including homogeneous, heterogeneous, biocatalysis, electrocatalysis and plasma catalysis) employing a range of computational and characterisation techniques to develop a fundamental understanding of catalytic mechanisms for the conversion of small bio-based molecules and CO2 into value added chemicals and fuels.

The PhD research project will be on developing and applying new cutting-edge in situ characterisation techniques for atomic resolution investigation of next generation catalysts. Specifically, the project will use advanced transmission electron microscopy (TEM) imaging and analysis capabilities to characterise single atom and supported transition metal catalysts for CO2 hydrogenation. Combined with other experimental and modelling techniques, the aim is to provide molecular understanding of the structure-activity relationships of heterogeneous catalysts. The project will benefit from The University of Manchester’s cutting edge in-situ TEM facilities, including capabilities for imaging and analysis in gas and liquids, and at elevated temperatures.

The PhD student will have a co-supervisor from Cardiff University and two industrial mentors and will have the opportunity to visit the partners’ industrial sites. PhDs will participate in quarterly meetings with the industrial partners and biannual meetings with all the project researchers. The project aims are fundamental and we expect to publish high impact outputs in world leading journals after industrial review. There will be opportunities to undertake experiments at national and international facilities and to present your work at international conferences. The project will be part of bp International Centre for Advanced Materials (bp-ICAM) community and students will receive training through the Integrated Catalysis (iCAT) CDT at Manchester.

Applicants should have a good degree in Physical Sciences, Engineering or equivalent experience. Applicants should submit a CV, a brief statement of research interests, and the names of two referees by e-mail to .

Funding Notes

Applications are invited for a fully funded 4-year studentship covering stipend and fees. International applicants will be considered. The PhD student can start from October 2021 and applications will be considered until the position is filled.

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