A fully funded 4-year PhD studentship in materials chemistry is available under the supervision of Dr Verena Görtz and Dr John Griffin at the Department of Chemistry and Materials Science Institute, commencing in October 2018 or thereafter. The project, funded via an EPSRC Industrial CASE award, will focus on the design, synthesis, and advanced molecular level characterisation of new polymer stabilised nanostructured materials with switchable light and heat reflective properties.
The research in our group is aimed at gaining fundamental insights into the self-organisation of soft nanostructured materials in confined 2D and 3D geometries, and to thus develop new materials with unique properties for sensing, stimuli-responsive actuation, as well as optical display and energy related applications.
Switchable technologies using electrochromic (EC), polymer dispersed liquid crystal (PDLC) and electrophoretic or suspended particle device (SPD) technologies are already in use for windows in buildings to regulate sunlight transmission, i.e. to control daylight and solar heat flow, thus reducing the energy, emissions and costs associated with heating, cooling, and electric lighting. However, current window films show several draw backs based on fundamental properties of the materials used, which preclude their application in many areas, including automotive glazing.
Within this context, this PhD project is aimed at developing a new type of polymer stabilised, self-organised material with switchable light and heat reflective properties. The research program will involve the design and synthesis of new liquid-crystalline self-organised materials with tailored reflective properties, the implementation of polymerisation techniques to create polymer stabilised, 2D confined films of these materials, and advanced molecular level property evaluation using techniques such as polarizing (electro-)optical microscopy, X-ray diffraction, (solid-state) NMR spectroscopy, UV spectroscopy, differential scanning calorimetry, scanning electron and atomic force microscopy, which are available at Lancaster University within the Lancaster Materials Science Institute and the Departments of Chemistry and Physics.
During the course of this project, you will be trained in core practical techniques in synthetic organic and polymer chemistry, and all relevant property evaluation techniques. You will also have the opportunity to further your knowledge through regular group meetings and seminars and will regularly interact with our industrial partner. You will work in new state-of-the-art experimental facilities at Lancaster University, and will regularly interact with our industrial partners. In addition to experimental techniques, the project will involve the use of computational methods for analysis of experimental data and the development of structural models. Ideal candidates would have experience in the areas of synthetic (polymer) chemistry and material property evaluation but primarily should be willing to develop new skill sets as required by the project.
Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a 1st class or good 2:1 UK degree (or equivalent) in Chemistry and possess theoretical and practical skills commensurate with the undergraduate degree programme. The successful candidate will demonstrate a strong interest in materials chemistry, enthusiasm to work in a laboratory environment, willingness to learn, a collaborative attitude, and will possess excellent written and oral communication skills.
We encourage informal e-mail enquiries to Dr Verena Görtz (email@example.com) before submitting an application. Applications should be made via Lancaster University’s online application system (http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/how-to-apply-for-postgraduate-study/). Applications will be considered in the order that they are received, and the position may be filled when a suitable candidate has been identified. Please indicate on your application that you are applying for this funded PhD project.
The Department of Chemistry at Lancaster University provides a research environment that strongly supports the individual needs of each student and promotes a healthy work-life balance. We are committed to the Athena Swan Charter, which recognises and celebrates good employment practice undertaken to address gender equality in higher education and research. Our commitment to these principles is reflected in our recent receipt of an Athena Swan Bronze Award. The Department of Chemistry also operates an informal PhD peer-peer mentor scheme available to all students.
The studentships will cover fees at the UK/EU rate plus the standard maintenance stipend (£14,777 for 2018/19).