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Microfluidic Synthesis of Metal and Metal-Oxide Foams


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Monday 29 April 2024
Country eligibility
UK only
Source of funding
Professor Rik Drummond-Brydson and Dr Robert Menzel
School of Chemistry
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

The studentship will investigate advanced chemical fabrication techniques to create unique functional foam materials, in close collaboration with our industrial partner AWE. The project will follow-on from a previous PhD studentship that successfully developed a microfluidics-based platform for the synthesis of polymer template structures, used to fabricate polymer foams with highly controlled internal structures. The aim of this studentship is to translate the microfluidics synthesis technology to the fabrication of metal foams (gold, silver, copper), metal oxide foams (tantalum oxide, titanium oxide) and related core-shell materials. The aim of the project is to utilise the high level of control provided by the microfluidic synthesis to produce foam materials with unique, bespoke internal microstructures, currently not accessible by other fabrication approaches.<br /> <br /> Such foam materials are needed in context of advanced plasma physics experiments, linking theoretical predictions with state-of-the-art experimental work. The most promising materials, emerging from the project, will be tested at the national ORION laser facility on the AWE site. Selected foam materials will also be explored in sustainability-related applications, such as electrocatalytic CO2 conversions and energy storage technologies, via academic collaborations.<br /> <br /> Materials synthesis and testing will be underpinned by advanced materials characterisation. A particular focus will lie on 3D imaging of the internal foam structures via high-resolution X-ray tomography at the AWE site. This will be complemented by state-of-the-art chemical 3D characterisation (FIB-SIMS, XPS) at the Bragg Centre for Materials Research at Leeds University.<br /> <br /> The project will be carried out at Leeds University, with several secondments to the AWE site for X-ray tomography, micromachining and foam testing. The project is supervised by Dr Robert Menzel (materials chemistry), Prof Rik Brydson (advanced materials characterisation), and an industrial supervisor at AWE. Guidance and full support will be provided throughout the studentship from staff at both Leeds University and AWE.<br /> <br /> The project will provide the student with training in advanced fabrication of micro- and nano-structured materials as well as state-of-the-art materials characterisation (electron microscopy, X-ray tomography, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy) through experts at the University of Leeds and at AWE. The studentship will also provide opportunities to develop networks within academia and industry, including potential collaborations with the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and US partner organisations. The studentship provides a standard PhD maintenance grant plus an industrial top of &pound;3,000 per year. This opportunity is open to UK nationals only. <br /> <br /> If interested, please get in touch with Dr Robert Menzel under

<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&nbsp;<em><strong>EPSRC DTP Engineering &amp; Physical Sciences</strong></em>&nbsp;(if you do not apply to this programme code, your application will not be considered), in research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is <em><strong>Microfluidic Synthesis of Metal and Metal-Oxide Foams</strong></em>&nbsp;as well as <a href="">Dr Robert Menzel</a> as your proposed supervisor and&nbsp;<em><strong>in the Finance Section, the funding source that you are applying for is</strong></em>&nbsp;<em><strong>EPSRC DTP Engineering &amp; Physical Sciences 2024/25: Chemistry</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><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>Applications will be considered after the closing date. &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 in support of your application by the closing date of 29 April 2024:</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 class="MsoNoSpacing">A highly competitive EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship offering the award of fees, together with a tax-free maintenance grant of &pound;19,237 for 3.5 years.&nbsp; Training and support will also be provided.<br /> <br /> This opportunity is open to UK applicants only. All candidates will be placed into the EPSRC CASE Competition Studentship Award 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 this project, please contact Dr Adam Clayton or Prof. Richard Bourne by email to&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p> <p>For further information about your application, please contact the Doctoral College Admissions by email to&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p>

<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked funding opportunities</h3>