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Stereodynamics of Molecular Collisions

School of Engineering & Physical Sciences

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

About the Project

You will study the dynamics of inelastic energy transfer and reactive scattering relevant to atmospheric chemistry, combustion or astrochemistry using state-of-the-art experimental and theoretical methods, to determine the underlying mechanisms and improve our understanding of chemical interactions in these important environments.

Detailed understanding of molecular collisions, and the resulting energy transfer and/or reaction is vital to improved modelling of a wide range of important chemical environments, including planetary atmospheres, combustion and plasma systems and astrochemistry. In this project, you will apply state-of-the-art chemical dynamics techniques; Crossed-molecular-beam scattering coupled to high-resolution laser spectroscopy and velocity-map ion-imaging for detection, and will study the dynamics of molecular collisions. One strand of work will involve inelastic energy transfer of radicals important in practical environments e.g. NO and OH, with rare gases and small molecules (Nat. Chem. 10, 1148 (2018)). By comparing measurements of differential scattering cross sections, correlated energy transfer, and product rotational angular momentum polarization, to quantum and classical scattering calculations, you will perform critical tests of current theoretical models. Another strand will feature reactive collisions of O-atoms and OH with saturated, unsaturated and functionalized hydrocarbons. These systems display competition between abstraction and addition pathways. Measurements of product branching ratios, energy disposal and scattering angle distributions, can help to disentangle these multiple pathways. These measurements will connect directly to our complementary on-going experiments on reactive oxygen chemistry at gas-liquid interfaces.

Name of supervisor: Prof Matthew Costen, email: [Email Address Removed]

All applicants must have or expect to have a 1st class MChem, MPhys, MSci, MEng or equivalent degree by Autumn 2020. Selection will be based on academic excellence and research potential, and all short-listed applicants will be interviewed (in person or by Skype). Some of our scholarships are only open to UK/EU applicants who meet residency requirements set out by EPSRC. Some scholarships are available for exceptional overseas candidates

Closing Date
All applications must be received by 28th February 2020. All successful candidates should usually expect to start in September/October 2020.

How to Apply
Apply Online:
When applying through the Heriot-Watt on-line system please ensure you provide the following information:
(a) in ‘Study Option’
You will need to select ‘Edinburgh’ and ‘Postgraduate Research’. ‘Programme’ presents you with a drop-down menu. Choose Chemistry PhD and select September 2020 for study option (this can be updated at a later date if required)
(b) in ‘Research Project Information’
You will be provided with a free text box for details of your research project. Enter Title and Reference number of the project for which you are applying and also enter the supervisor’s name.

This information will greatly assist us in tracking your application.

Please note that once you have submitted your application, it will not be considered until you have uploaded your CV and transcripts.

Funding Notes

We have a number of scholarships available. The annual stipend will be approx. £15,000 and full fees will be paid for a period of between 3 to 3.5 years.
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