The 2010 Nobel prize in Physics was awarded for the discovery and isolation of the graphene, a single (atomically thin) layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice. Due to its two-dimensionality, graphene demonstrates many exotic and superlative mechanical, thermal, electrical and optical properties. Since its discovery many other 2D materials have been isolated and measured each with interesting and useful properties with applications in different fields, such as electronics, spintronics, superconductivity and photonics.
These 2D crystals can be exfoliated from bulk material, as for graphene from graphite, or they can be grown “bottom-up” layer-by-layer using approaches such as Chemical Vapour Deposition, Molecular Beam Epitaxy and Pulsed Laser Deposition (PLD). PLD, in particular, offers many advantages over other 2D crystal growth techniques: for example, high film homogeneity, fast growth rates, and excellent control over film parameters such as thickness and composition.
In this PhD, you will be seeking the best parameters (substrate, substrate temperature, pulse energy, target composition, pulse rate etc.) to synthesise 2D materials by the technique of PLD using an ultra-high vacuum thin film deposition chamber available in the Department of Physics. The layers will be characterised by X-ray reflectometry, atomic force microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and scanning tunnelling microscopy in order to determine the material structure and properties. The results will be compared with material structure predictions from complementary ab initio calculations to be undertaken at Loughborough University.
This PhD opportunity is unfunded, and the applicants are encouraged to apply for external funding to support their studies. Please get in contact to discuss funding opportunities.
Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent) or a master’s degree in physics, chemistry, materials science, engineering or a related discipline. The following is desirable: first-hand working experience with experiments dealing with crystallography, physical property characterisation, high vacuum techniques, thin solid state films. Experience in calculating material properties by density function theory approaches will be an advantage.
How to apply
All applications should be made online: https://www.lboro.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/apply/research-applications/
Under school/department name, select 'Physics'. Please quote reference PH/PB-Un1/2020.
The deadline for applications is 31 March 2020.
Start date: July 2020, October 2020
Full-time/part-time availability: Full-time (3 years)
Fee band: Band RB (UK/EU: TBC; international: £22,350)