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Physical Chemistry / Chemical Physics: Fully Funded Swansea University PhD Scholarship: Development of magnetic beam Imaging – a new approach for ultra-gentle surface microscopy

   Department of Chemistry

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  Prof G Alexandrowicz  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Funding provider: Swansea University's Faculty of Science and Engineering

Subject areas: Physical chemistry, Chemical Physics

Project start date: 

  • 1 April 2022 (Enrolment open from mid–March)
  • 1 July 2022 (Enrolment open from mid-June)

Supervisors: Professor Gil Alexandrowicz and Dr Helen Chadwick 

Aligned programme of study: PhD in Chemistry

Mode of study: Full-time

Project description:

This aim of this project is to develop and implement a completely new microscopy method, magnetic beam imaging, a method which will be capable of imaging the surface of delicate specimens which cannot be studied using existing microscopes. In recent years extensive efforts have been made to develop neutral helium microscopes which can image specimens without causing damage or perturbing the surface[1]. The spatial resolution in existing neutral beam microscopes is severely limited with respect to some other microscopes. In this project an alternative neutral-beam microscopy method will be developed. The new approach is based on magnetic manipulation methods, developed in our group in the last few years [2], which use magnetic fields to control the spin-rotational quantum states of atoms/molecules. These manipulation methods are currently used to study the interaction of molecules with surfaces, but will be modified and adapted to produce spatial resolution images of the specimen the beam interacts with. The imaging method, which will be tested for the first time in this project, is expected to significantly surpass the resolution and measurement time restriction of existing neutral beam microscopes, and potentially provide new contrast mechanisms related to the magnetic properties of the surface.

[1] Nature Communications 7, 10189 (2016)

[2] Nature Communications 11, 3110 (2020)


Candidates must normally hold an undergraduate degree at 2.1 level or a master’s degree with a minimum overall grade at ‘Merit’ in Physics or Chemistry or closely related discipline (or Non-UK equivalent as defined by Swansea University).

Strong interests in instrumentation, microscopy, optics and computer programming is desirable.

English Language requirements: If applicable – IELTS 6.0 overall (with at least 5.5 in each individual component) or Swansea recognised equivalent. Details on the Swansea University English Language entry policy can be found here.

Due to funding restrictions, this scholarship is open to UK and EU based students only. EU Students must be eligible to receive the EU Transitional Bursary Scheme.

Funding Notes

This scholarship covers the full cost of UK tuition fees and an annual stipend of £15,609.
Additional research expenses will also be available.

Open days

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