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Understanding Atomic-scale Friction


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Project start date
Friday 1 September 2023
Country eligibility
UK only
Source of funding
Dr Adam Sweetman
School of Physics and Astronomy
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

This &nbsp;project, based in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leeds, aims to investigate the origins of friction at the scale of the a single atom, using cutting-edge atomic resolution scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) and non-contact atomic force microscopy (NC-AFM) techniques, in the group of Dr Adam Sweetman. &nbsp;<br /> <br /> Friction is an intrinsic part of day-to-day existence. Although essential for some operations, it is often undesirable. By some estimates, 20% of global energy consumption is &ldquo;wasted&rdquo; due to unwanted friction. Despite overwhelming physical and economic interest, surprisingly we still cannot reliably predict the friction between two arbitrary surfaces using simulation techniques.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> You will use recent technological advances in atomic resolution imaging to perform direct measurements of the true atomic-scale forces arising from friction, and investigate what measurement of atomic scale forces can tell us about nanoscale, and mesoscale, effects<br /> <br /> The successful candidate for this project should have a keen interest both in experimental physics, and some &nbsp;programming experience is desirable (pre-existing experience of Python and/or LabVIEW would be particularly useful), alongside a desire to work as part of a team of dedicated researchers in a challenging experimental environment.

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

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<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>. &nbsp;Please state clearly in the Planned Course of Study section that you are applying for <em><strong>PhD Physics &amp; Astronomy</strong></em> and in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is <strong><em>Understanding Atomic-scale Friction</em></strong>&nbsp;as well as <a href="">Dr. Adam Sweetman</a>&nbsp;as your proposed supervisor.</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><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. &nbsp;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>Please note that you must provide the following documents at the point you submit your application:</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> <li>Funding information</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>A highly competitive Royal Society Studentship, consisting of the award of fees at the UK fee rate of &pound;4,596 (currently for for academic session 2022/23) together with a maintenance grant (currently &pound;17,668 for academic session 2022/23)&nbsp; for 4 years.</p> <p>This opportunity is open to all applicants. All candidates will be placed into the Royal Society Studentship Competition and selection is based on academic merit.<br /> <br /> Please refer to the&nbsp;<a href="">UKCISA</a>&nbsp;website for&nbsp;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: e: <a href=""></a></p> <p>For further information about this project, please contact Dr Adam Sweetman: e:&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p>

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