Funded Opportunities

The following fully-funded PhD projects are currently available.


A 3-D view of environmental quenching across cosmic time (Dr John Stott)

Project Description

As the Universe ages, galaxies find themselves drawn together into filaments, groups and clusters. Galaxies entering these dense environments can experience processes which can ultimately lead to a dramatic change in their appearance and internal properties. This project will discover how galaxies are transformed (`quenched’) from blue star-forming spiral discs (like our own Milky Way) into passive red elliptical galaxies, through interactions with their environment.

To achieve this we need to resolve and examine the influence of environment on the processes that take place within the galaxies themselves. This is done with Integral Field Units (IFUs), which can measure a spectrum at each spatial position of a galaxy, giving a 3-dimensional picture of its gas dynamics, star formation and chemical composition.

This PhD project will be a detailed study of galaxy transformation with environment. You will utilise state-of-the-art IFUs such as: KMOS (a revolutionary instrument on the Very Large Telescope in Chile), which can perform simultaneous near-infrared observations of 24 distant galaxies; and the SDSS-IV MaNGA optical survey, which is observing thousands of relatively nearby galaxies across all environments. KMOS will tell us how environment was transforming galaxies at early times, MaNGA will probe these processes now.

Funding

The PhD starting date is 1 October 2017. Funding is for 3.5 years, is available to citizens of the UK and the European Union and covers the full fees and standard RCUK maintenance stipend.

The Physics Department holds an Athena SWAN Silver award and JUNO Championship status and is strongly committed to fostering diversity within its community as a source of excellence, cultural enrichment, and social strength. We welcome those who would contribute to the further diversification of our department.

Please contact Dr. John Stott for further information. This PhD project represents just one component of the research performed by the wider Astrophysics group at Lancaster University. For more general information about PhD study in Physics at Lancaster please contact our postgraduate admissions staff at py-pgadmiss@lancaster.ac.uk. You can also apply directly at http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/physics/postgraduate/how-to-apply/ stating the title of the project and the name of the supervisor.

Closing Date

24 February 2017


Dynamics of Saturn’s aurora (Dr Sarah Badman)

Project Description

The Space and Planetary Physics group at Lancaster University is seeking a candidate to work on a PhD project on Saturn’s auroral dynamics. The project will explore the origin and variability of Saturn’s auroral emissions using an extensive archive of observations made by the Cassini mission and the Hubble Space Telescope. The aurorae are caused by the precipitation of energetic particles into the upper atmosphere. The emissions are known to respond strongly to the solar wind conditions that envelop the magnetosphere, however, they are also controlled by the processes associated with the planet’s rotation.  This project will aim to characterise the auroral features, identify their driving mechanisms, and understand how their occurrence depends on the external and internal magnetospheric conditions.  This will be achieved by analysing images and spectra of the aurora made by Cassini and the Hubble Space Telescope, and comparing with other Cassini instrument measurements of the magnetic field and particles. 

The successful candidate should hold a minimum of a UK MPhys Degree at 2:1 level or equivalent in a Physics-based subject. The candidate is expected to successfully work as part of a team, with good inter-personal skills and to successfully complete research project suitable for the award of a PhD in Physics including publications in high impact peer-reviewed articles. 

Funding Notes and Contact

The PhD starting date is 1 October 2017. Funding is for 3.5 years and is available to citizens of the UK and the European Union and it covers the full fees and standard RCUK stipend.

The Physics Department holds an Athena SWAN Silver award and JUNO Championship status and is strongly committed to fostering diversity within its community as a source of excellence, cultural enrichment, and social strength. We welcome those who would contribute to the further diversification of our department.

Please contact Dr. Sarah Badman for further information. For more general information about PhD study in Physics at Lancaster please contact our postgraduate admissions staff at py-pgadmiss@lancaster.ac.uk. You can also apply directly at http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/physics/postgraduate/how-to-apply/ stating the title of the project and the name of the supervisor.

Closing Date

Applications will be accepted until the post is filled. 

Development of novel, charge-based memories for fast, non-volatile data storage. (Dr Manus Hayne)

Supervisor: Dr Manus Hayne

Project Description

The vast majority of memories are either DRAM or Flash. DRAM, which is the working memory in computers and gadgets, is fast, but also volatile and relatively expensive. Flash, on the other hand, is non-volatile and cheap, but slow. A so-called ‘universal memory’ which combines the best of both, i.e. is fast, cheap and non-volatile, has been long been the ‘Holy Grail’ of the memory industry, but has remained elusive.

Lancaster University is offering an industrially-supported EPSRC CASE PhD project on ground-breaking work to develop a novel memory-concept (patent pending) that is a viable candidate for a universal memory. We have very recently (2017) demonstrated operation of non-volatile III-V compound-semiconductor single-cell devices at room temperature. The objective of the project will be to develop and test small arrays of memory cells (2x2 and 4x4), and to reduce device feature sizes into the nanoscale.

The work will be technically demanding, and will involve sample growth by molecular beam epitaxy, advanced device fabrication in state-of-the-art clean rooms and electrical characterisation (training will be provided). The project will be excellent preparation for a research career in academic or industrial research labs. The student will join the Quantum Nanotechnology group, consisting of eleven academics and more than thirty graduate and postdoctoral researchers. Lancaster University is one of the top 10 universities in the UK, and the Physics Department was ranked 2nd in UK for world-leading research in the most recent Research Assessment.

The Physics Department is holder of Athena SWAN Silver award and JUNO Championship status and is strongly committed to fostering diversity within its community as a source of excellence, cultural enrichment, and social strength. We welcome those who would contribute to the further diversification of our department.

Closing Date

Applications will be accepted until the post is filled.

Apply and Contact

Fully funded EPSRC PhD Studentship (Full funding is available to UK applicants).

To apply please go to https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/physics/postgraduate/how-to-apply/

For further information, please contact Dr. Manus Hayne (m.hayne@lancaster.ac.uk)

 

 

Atom-by-atom control and characterisation of molecular structures at surfaces (Dr Samuel Jarvis)

Supervisor:  Dr Samuel Jarvis

Co-supervisor:  Prof. Oleg Kolosov

Project Description

‌We are seeking an outstanding candidate to work on a PhD project in the Physics department and Materials Science Institute at Lancaster University. 

A major challenge in nanotechnology remains the design and construction of novel devices capable of specific functions at the atomic and molecluar scale.  One of the most promising routes towards this goal is the directed self-assembly of single molecule precursors into larger surface structures, such as single-atom-thick ‘wires’ and 2D molecular networks with specific functional properties. 

As a consequence there has been tremendous experimental and theoretical effort to both tune the mechanisms and kinetics of molecular self assembly, and also, importantly, develop methods that can characterise such materials with atomic and submolecular resolution. 

This PhD project aims to develop new approaches for atomic resolution characterisation and methods for directing self-assembly across a range of surface materials, moving beyond current restrictions on sample preparation and characaterisation techniques.  Core to this are atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) which can be used to image and manipulate surfaces and molecules with atomic and submolecular resolution through measurements of atomic forces or electron tunelling.  This project will pursue new methods to stabalise molecular structures on surfaces, with the aim of creating stable molecular networks on non-conducting materials.  Key to this is AFM, which is uniquely capable of imaging in real-space with atomic resolution on non-conducting materials which will be complemented by advanced computational simulation and other surface sensitive techniques. 

The student will benefit from working in the world leading Quantum Nanotechnology group in the Physics Department with strong collaborative links with Chemistry, Engineering, Energy Lancaster and the Materials Science Institute.  Lancaster University is ranked in the top 10 of UK Universities as ranked in The Times/Sunday Times, the Guardian and the Complete University Guide.  The Physics Department was ranked 2nd in UK for world-leading research in the most recent Research Assessment.

The microscopes used for this project will be housed in the newly constructed, state-of-the-art Isolab facility (http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/facilities/projects/isolab/), built at a cost of £2M, providing some of the most advanced ultra-low noise environments in the world.  This PhD position will suit candidates from Physics, Chemistry or Materials Science. 

The Physics Department is holder of Athena SWAN Silver award and JUNO Championship status and is strongly committed to fostering diversity within its community as a source of excellence, cultural enrichment, and social strength. We welcome those who would contribute to the further diversification of our department.

Please contact Dr Samuel Jarvis (samuel.jarvis@lancaster.ac.uk) for any additional enquires.  You can also apply directly here stating the title of the project and the name of the supervisor.

Closing Date:  12 May 2017

Funding

The PhD starting date is before Oct. 1st 2017. Funding for this project is available to citizens of the UK and the European Union. Funding for 3.5 years covering full fees and a maintenance stipend will be awarded on a competitive basis.

Closing Date

12 May 2017


Development of new tools in differential geometry and electromagnetism for application in numerical codes (Dr Jonathan Gratus)

Project Description

The mathematical physics group in the Cockcroft Institute and the Department of Physics, Lancaster University, have a PhD studentship available for October 2017.

Current research techniques involve differential geometry, the theory of distributions, electrodynamics, relativity, multi-particle dynamics and relativistic plasma theory.  These mathematical tools are being applied fundamental problems in accelerator science including beam dynamics, radiation reaction and laser-plasma-wakefield acceleration.

Depending on the skill set of the student the project can either be entirely theoretical or combine theory with numerical simulations and coding.

The project will use and develop tools in differential geometry and general relativity. It will build on recent ideas which extend the concept of a DeRham currents (also known as Schwartz distribution and Dirac δ-function) to include higher order moments. We will investigate the potential of these tools to improve the numerical simulations of electromagnetism and the dynamics of large numbers of particles.

The successful candidate will have the opportunity extend their knowledge of mathematical and theoretical physics, numerical simulations and attend the Cockcroft lectures in accelerator physics.

The Physics Department holds an Athena SWAN Silver award and JUNO Championship status and is strongly committed to fostering diversity within its community as a source of excellence, cultural enrichment, and social strength. We welcome those who would contribute to the further diversification of our department.

Funding

The PhD starting date is 1 October 2017. Funding is for 3.5 years and is available to citizens of the UK and the European Union and it covers the full fees and standard RCUK stipend.

‌Please contact Dr Jonathan Gratus for further information. 

For more general information about PhD study in Physics at Lancaster please contact our postgraduate admissions staff at py-pgadmiss@lancaster.ac.uk.  You can also apply directly at http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/physics/postgraduate/how-to-apply/ stating the title of the project and the name of the supervisor.

Closing Date:  

30 April 2017