PhD Studentship in Surface Science and Engineering for Particle Accelerator Applications. Developing of modern superconducting PVD coatings for particle accelerators RF cavities

Applications are invited for a three-year full time PhD studentship to work in surface science and engineering for particle accelerator applications at the Accelerator Science and Technology Centre (ASTeC) (( while registered as a postgraduate research student at Loughborough University ( This opportunity would suit high quality graduates with a good BSc/MSc in physics, chemistry or related science and engineering subject. The successful candidate will spend most of his/her time in the STFC Daresbury Laboratory near Warrington in Cheshire, working within ASTeC groups; however, some time will also be spent at the University. Training on accelerator science and technology is provided as a course of lectures and tutorials at Daresbury. The candidate will be largely responsible for the day-to-day running of their project, supported by ASTeC/University supervisors. 

The studentship provides a stipend of £14,300 per annum for the duration of the award plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. Due to Tier 4 visa restrictions on industry placements, this is only available to UK/EU applicants. Applicants should be highly motivated and have a 1st honours degree or at least a good 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent in an appropriate undergraduate discipline) and/or Master’s level training. Informal enquires should be directed to Dr. Reza Valizadeh (+44 1925 603447,

The preferred starting date is 1st October 2013

Closing Date for Applications: 25th August 2013

PhD project description:

In modern high energy particle accelerators the particles are accelerated in the Radio Frequency (RF) structures with large field gradients. RF cavities made of superconducting materials are the best solution, however they are quite expensive. RF cavities made of copper and coated with a thin layer of superconducting material represent a good and reliable alternative. However, the quality and properties of the coated layer are very sensitive to deposition conditions and parameters. To develop the UK capability in a field of coated superconducting RF the ASTeC began a research programme based on Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD).

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A joint PhD studentship from STFC and Loughborough University

University supervisor: Dr. Boris Chesca, Loughborough University, Physics Department

ASTeC supervisors:  Dr. O.B Malyshev/ Dr. R. Valizadeh

Aim: to develop PVD coating technology for superconducting materials (including high temperature ones) and apply it for RF cavities.


This study requires a systematic investigation of AC and DC superconductivity parameters of existing superconducting metals (e.g. Nb) deposited by PVD methods on copper, building up a coating facility for RF cavities, then evaluating other materials with higher critical temperature with the aim of producing a superconducting RF cavity operating at liquid nitrogen temperatures. The project aims to include:Familiarisation with depositing technologies based on PVD Characterisation of film morphology, structure and composition with SEM, XRD, TEM, RBS, etc. Low temperature electric transport measurements of superconducting films.Nb and other superconducting metal coating based on PVD methodsHigh temperature superconducting materials coating based on PVD methodsNew superconducting materials coatings such as MgB2

Single layer and multilayer coatings

Apply online by clicking the Apply link below quoting reference PVD-SRF-Chesca

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