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Revealing Fermi surface topologies through synchrotron Compton scattering and ab initio calculations

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Thursday, February 28, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Project Description

The Fermi surface is one of the most important concepts in the physics of metals [1]. Its shape is important for understanding the properties and behaviours of a metal (e.g. magnetic order, superconductivity, charge- and spin-density waves), and measuring it is a challenging but important task.

Compton scattering, in which a photon is inelastically scattered by an electron in the material being studied, can uniquely provide access to the ground-state electronic wavefunction, and also the Fermi surface. Fermi surface measurements by Compton scattering are not limited by short electron mean free paths or by low temperatures. The experiments can be performed with, or without an applied magnetic field, and – most importantly - it probes the bulk, rather than the surface [2]. For example, our recent work on PdCrO2 was able to elucidate the role of the Fermi surface in mediating the frustrated magnetic interactions between local Cr magnetic moments [3].

The group is currently working on a diverse range of materials, including topological superconductors, high-entropy alloys, half-metallic ferromagnets, (topological) Kondo insulators and correlated oxides.

The student will have the opportunity of operating in an environment where experimental work is supported and inspired by electronic structure theory developed and executed within the group. The student would be expected to take an active role in these theoretical endeavours, which most recently have focused on being able to treat more strongly correlated electronic materials through techniques such as DMFT and GW. The project would suit someone who has a strong interest in computational theoretical condensed matter physics but would like to maintain a very close connection to experiment. As part of this project, you might also be involved with experiments at national and international facilities (such as SPring-8 in Japan). An enthusiasm for travel is an essential prerequisite.

How to Apply

Please make an online application for this project at Please select Physics PhD on the Programme Choice page. You will be prompted to enter details of this specific project in the ‘Research Details’ section of the form.

Anticipated start date: September 2019

Candidate requirements

A first degree in physics or a related subject, normally at a level equivalent to at least UK upper second-class honours, or a relevant postgraduate master's qualification.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Funding Notes

Funding UK/EU: UK and EU students who meet the eligibility requirements will be considered for an EPSRC DTP studentship. Funding will cover UK/EU tuition fees, maintenance at the UKRI Doctoral Stipend rate (£14,777 per annum, 2018/19 rate) and a training support fee of £1,000 per annum for a period up to 3.5 years.

Eligibility includes, but is not limited to, being a UK or EU national who was resident in the UK for 3 years prior to the start of the project.

Funding overseas: Overseas students are also welcome to apply for a limited number of School of Physics studentships. These will be fully funded studentships to outstanding overseas candidates.

We welcome all-year-round applications from self-funded students and students seeking their own funding from external sources.


[1] S.B. Dugdale, Physica Scripta 91 053009 (2016)
[2] S.B Dugdale, Low Temperature Physics 40 328 (2014)
[3] D. Billington et al., Scientific Reports 5 12428 (2015)

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