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  PhD Studentship in Laser processing of challenging materials

   Department of Mechanical Engineering

  Dr Iuliia Tirichenko, Dr F Cegla  Applications accepted all year round  Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a research studentship in the field of laser processing of materials (graphene-enabled laser joining and repairs) leading to the award of a PhD degree. The post is supported by a bursary and fees (at the UK student rate) provided by the PhD Scholarship of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

In the era of industrial sustainability, there's a growing emphasis on prioritizing material repair and reuse over incessant production. The principles of "repair, don't replace" and "First Time Right" are at the forefront, highlighting the need for enhanced quality control and sustainable fabrication methods. As the complexity and scale of the components we produce continue to expand, the demand for reliable methods to securely join dissimilar materials has surged. Laser processing, especially laser welding, emerges as a promising solution, particularly in industries like aerospace and transportation.

However, a significant challenge arises when it comes to materials that do not readily absorb laser light, rendering them unsuitable for laser processing. This is particularly relevant for refractory materials, which require exceptionally high temperatures for melting or sintering. The effective conversion of laser light into heat is crucial in these cases.

Our research project aims to address this challenge by exploring a universal enhancer – chemically modified graphene. Graphene possesses the unique ability to efficiently absorb laser light across a broad range of wavelengths and convert it into heat through the photothermal effect. When graphene is introduced to refractory compounds, it enhances their laser processability, making them suitable for laser melting and sintering manufacturing methods. Our research will involve the synthesis of various graphene variants, blending them with feedstock powders, and using them to create joints and repairs. Throughout the project, we will conduct continuous characterization to understand how the composition of the materials and the presence of graphene affect laser processability and the quality of the joints.

In addition to this, we will develop a novel in-situ non-destructive evaluation method as part of the project. This method will enable us to monitor the quality of joints by utilizing high-frequency modulations of the laser source, which emit ultrasonic waves that can be detected and used for inspection.

You will be an enthusiastic and self-motivated person who meets the academic requirements for enrolment for the PhD degree at Imperial College London, holding or expecting a First-Class or high 2:1 MSc degree in engineering, materials, chemistry, physics or related fields. Keen to investigate graphene's impact on laser processing, they'll work on experiments and tech development, which will require teamwork, observation, and communication skills. For eligibility, applicants must be "UK Residents" per EPSRC's definition ( The 3.5-year studentship, commencing in 2023, covers tuition fees and offers an annual tax-free stipend.

To find out more about research at Imperial College London in this area, go to:

For information on how to apply, go to:

For further details of the post contact Dr Iuliia Tirichenko (Elizarova) , Dr. Frederic Cegla +44 (0)20 75948096. Interested applicants should send an up-to-date curriculum vitae to the email addresses above. Suitable candidates will be required to complete an electronic application form at Imperial College London in order for their qualifications to be addressed by College Registry.

Closing date: until post filled

Engineering (12)

Funding Notes

The post is supported by a bursary and fees (at the UK student rate) provided by the PhD Scholarship of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.