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Probing liquid surfaces using reactive-atom scattering

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  • Full or part time
    Prof K G McKendrick
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Project Description

Probing the composition and structure of the outer surface of a liquid is a challenging but important problem, with implications for many real-world processes in the atmosphere, multiphase catalysis, and gas sequestration. It has been tackled using a number of conventional surface-science and surface-spectroscopy tools, but these all have their own limitations of excessive penetration depth or lack of chemical specificity. We are developing a promising new method, reactive-atom scattering, which is based on laser-spectroscopic detection of the products of the reaction of a gas-phase projectile with a specific functional group at the surface. We have demonstrated that the relative yields of the product reflect the exposure of this functional group at the extreme outer layer of the liquid. We are pursuing this method to probe the surface composition of chemically heterogeneous liquids where it is not obvious, particularly technologically important ionic liquids, their mixtures and solutions.

See our research group website:

You should have, or expect to receive, a First class or 2:1 MChem degree in Chemistry, or equivalent in a relevant related subject.

The Institute of Chemical Sciences (ICS) is an excellent environment for PhD research, with a thriving community of academics, post-doctoral and PhD researchers. ICS has many links to the other research institutes within the overall umbrella of the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, providing a strong interdisciplinary theme to our research. Heriot-Watt occupies an attractive campus site on the outskirts of Edinburgh, with excellent public transport links to the centre of one of the Europe’s most exciting cities.

Funding Notes

EPSRC funded studentship: 3.5 years, tuition and stipend at the EPSRC standard rate (currently £14,296 p.a.). Only UK or EU citizens resident in the UK for the last 3 years are eligible.

Selection will be based on academic excellence and research potential, and all short-listed applicants will be interviewed (in person, by 'phone or by Skype). Applicants should send a CV and covering letter to [Email Address Removed], explaining your motivation for PhD study and identifying this project and Prof McKendrick as a supervisor.

How good is research at Heriot-Watt University in Chemistry?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 30.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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