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Teaching a machine to move atoms


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Project start date
Thursday 1 October 2020
Country eligibility
UK and EU
Source of funding
Doctoral training partnership
Dr Simon Connell and Dr Adam Sweetman
School of Physics and Astronomy
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

It is now routine in world leading laboratories to perform experiments where single atoms can be placed with atomic precision. These experiments are performed using scanning probe microscopes, and allow us to study the electrical and chemical properties of matter with sub-molecular, and even &ldquo;sub-atomic&rdquo; precision. However, these experiments rely on highly trained expert researchers operating machines by hand in an extremely time-consuming process. There is now significant interest in other fields towards developing machine learning algorithms, and autonomous systems, to allow machines to understand complex problems &ndash; for example facial recognition and self-driving vehicles. In this project the candidate will build on recent developments to develop automation and machine learning algorithms for integration with cutting edge scanning probe microscopes investigating intermolecular and interatomic interactions, essentially teaching a machine to &ldquo;see&rdquo; and move single atoms and molecules. This will be accomplished by direct interfacing with the Ultra-high resolution scanning probe microscopes currently housed in the MNP group at the University of Leeds. The successful candidate for this project should have a keen interest both in experimental physics and in programming (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">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 research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is &lsquo;Teaching a machine to move atoms&rsquo; 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>We welcome applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.</em></p>

<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>Engineering &amp; Physical Sciences Research Council Doctoral Training Partnerships and will run for 3.5 years.</p> <p>Eligibility &ndash; A full standard studentship consists of academic fees (&pound;4,500 in Session 2019/20), together with a maintenance grant (&pound;15,009 in Session 2019/20) paid at standard Research Council rates. UK applicants will be eligible for a full award paying tuition fees and maintenance. European Union applicants will be eligible for an award paying tuition fees only, except in exceptional circumstances, or where residency has been established for more than 3 years prior to the start of the course.</p> <p>Leeds Doctoral Scholarship, School of Physics &amp; Astronomy and Bell Burnell Scholarship Award</p> <p>Eligibility &ndash;&nbsp;A full standard studentship consists of academic fees (&pound;4,500 in Session 2019/20), together with a maintenance grant (&pound;15,009 in Session 2019/20) paid at standard Research Council rates. UK and EU applicants will be eligible for a full award paying tuition fees and maintenance.&nbsp;</p>

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

<p>For further information please contact Doctoral College Admissions by email:&nbsp; or by telephone:&nbsp; + 44 (0) 113 343 5057</p> <p>or</p> <p>Dr. Adam Sweetman:&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p>

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