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Crystal structure determination of complex oxide hetero-structures using surface x-ray diffraction and Coherent Bragg Rod Analysis (reference: Alaria LRC123)


Project Description

The development of new technologies often hinges on the possibility to design novel functionalities in advanced functional materials. The integration of such materials in devices often requires epitaxial thin films where the control of interfaces and strain is essential as small changes in the crystal structure can have a drastic impact on the physical properties. Unfortunately the tools required to probe such minute changes at the atomic scale have so far required destructive methods such as high resolution transmission electron microscopy where only a small volume of the sample is analysed giving a local picture of the system.

In this project we propose to determine the crystal structure of a complex inorganic oxide material BTFM-CT and the possible strained stabilised phases in epitaxial thin films using advanced x-ray scattering methods (Crystal Truncation Rods and Coherent Bragg Rod Analysis) and correlate it to the observed functionalities.

The project proposed will highlight the use of epitaxial thin films as viable route to determine crystal structure when powder diffraction fails to give a clear solution and bulk single crystals are not available. The development of a software implementing the COBRA algorithm will be highly beneficial to the oxide thin film community by providing a tool similar to what is available to bulk inorganic material researcher and will encourage a more in-depth understanding of the crystal structure of hetero-epitaxial films.

Qualifications: Candidates should have a degree in Physics, Material Science or Chemistry

Please apply by completing the online postgraduate research application form here: https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/study/postgraduate-taught/applying/online/
Please ensure you quote the following reference on your application: Crystal structure determination of complex oxide hetero-structures using surface x-ray diffraction and Coherent Bragg Rod Analysis (reference: Alaria LRC123)

Funding Notes

The award is primarily available to students resident in the UK/EU and will pay full tuition fees and a maintenance grant for 3.5 years (£14,553 pa in 2017/18). Non-EU nationals are not eligible for this position and applications from non-EU candidates will not be considered unless you have your own funding.

References

Nat Chem. 2016, 8 347-53: Interface control by chemical and dimensional matching in an oxide heterostructure.
Nature 2015, 525 363–366: Designing switchable polarization and magnetization at room temperature in an oxide

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