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Novel functional nanomaterials synthesised via self-assembly of molecular arrays


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Country eligibility
International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
Source of funding
Professor Thomas Chamberlain and Dr Adam Sweetman
School of Physics and Astronomy
Research groups/institutes
Crystallisation and Directed Assembly, Molecular and Nanoscale Physics
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

This inter-disciplinary project, based across the Schools of Physics and Chemistry at the University of Leeds, aims to exploit the nano structuring of molecular assemblies on surfaces in order to create novel functional 2D surfaces. Nanometre sized building blocks formed from organic molecules will be synthesised in the group of Dr Thomas Chamberlain ( and then used to create 2D molecular arrays on a range of prototypical surfaces in Dr Adam Sweetman&rsquo;s group ( <br /> <br /> You will work with both groups to investigate how both the nature of the component building blocks, and the overarching supramolecular structure of the assembly, affect the properties of these new surfaces. This will be done using a range of cutting-edge characterisation techniques allowing us to understand the properties of the new materials both on the ensemble, and single molecule, level.<br /> <br />

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<table align="left" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" hspace="0" vspace="0"> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p>In this project we will investigate the development of organic molecular building blocks to create self-assembled 2D nanostructured materials, with a focus on creating novel hybrid materials aimed at tackling a number of core scientific challenges, including molecular detection and catalysis.</p> <p>You will identify suitable methodologies for synthesising thin molecular films, including ambient solution based deposition and ultra-high-vacuum (UHV) techniques such as molecular beam epitaxy.&nbsp; You will then use advanced surface characterisation techniques including scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) and noncontact atomic force microscopy (NC-AFM) to determine the structure and properties of the assembled molecular films in real space with sub-molecular resolution. By probing these nanomaterials at the single molecule level, we will aim to link the atomic scale properties of the components to the bulk (ensemble) properties of the film itself in order to improve our fundamental understanding of how to design novel nanostructured materials from the bottom up.</p> <p>This project will target the development of functional building blocks and exploit the self-assembly of these materials on surfaces for the fabrication of novel 2D nanomaterials. As the principle component of such nanomaterials will be both renewable and almost infinitely available, <em>i.e.</em> carbon, this represents a sustainable route to novel nanomaterials.</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the Planned Course of Study section that you are applying for <em><strong>PHD Physics &amp; Astronomy FT,</strong></em>&nbsp;in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is <em><strong>Novel functional nanomaterials synthesised via self-assembly of molecular arrays</strong></em>&nbsp;as well as&nbsp;<a href="">Dr. Adam Sweetman</a> as your proposed supervisor&nbsp;and in the finance section, please state clearly&nbsp;<em><strong>the funding that you are applying for, if you are self-funding or externally sponsored</strong></em>.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px"><em>As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment where all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. Across all Faculties we are dedicated to diversifying our community and we welcome the unique contributions that individuals can bring, and particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community, people who identify as LGBT+ and people with disabilities. Applicants will always be selected based on merit and ability.</em></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Applications will be considered on an ongoing basis. &nbsp;Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the supervisors for an informal discussion before making a formal application. We also advise that you apply at the earliest opportunity as the application and selection process may close early, should we receive a sufficient number of applications or that a suitable candidate is appointed.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Please note that you must provide the following documents in support of your application by the closing date of 3 April 2024 for Leeds Opportunity Research Scholarship or 8 April 2024 for Leeds Doctoral Scholarship:</p> <ul> <li>Full Transcripts of all degree study or if in final year of study, full transcripts to date</li> <li>Personal Statement outlining your interest in the project</li> <li>CV</li> </ul>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p style="margin-bottom:12px"><strong>Self-Funded or externally sponsored students are welcome to apply.</strong></p> <p><strong>UK&nbsp;</strong>&ndash;&nbsp;The&nbsp;<a href="">Leeds Doctoral Scholarships</a> and <a href="">Leeds Opportunity Research Scholarship</a> are available to UK applicants (open from October 2023). The&nbsp;<a href="">Bell Burnell Scholarship Award</a>&nbsp;is available to support applicants who are from groups that are currently under-represented in physics (awarded by the IOP) (closed for 2024/25 entry).&nbsp; <a href="">Alumni Bursary</a> is available to graduates of the University of Leeds.</p> <p><strong>Non-UK</strong> &ndash; The&nbsp;<a href="">China Scholarship Council - University of Leeds Scholarship</a>&nbsp;is available to nationals of China (closed for 2024/25 entry). The&nbsp;<a href="">Leeds Marshall Scholarship</a>&nbsp;is available to support US citizens. <a href="">Alumni Bursary</a> is available to graduates of the University of Leeds.</p> <p><strong>Important:</strong>&nbsp; Any costs associated with your arrival at the University of Leeds to start your PhD including flights, immigration health surcharge/medical insurance and Visa costs are <strong>not</strong> covered under these studentships.</p> <p>Please refer to the <a href="">UKCISA</a> website for information regarding Fee Status for Non-UK Nationals.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information about your application, please contact Doctoral College Admissions by email to&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p> <p>For further information about this project, please contact Dr Adam Sweetman by email to&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p>

<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>