PhD Studentship Manufacture of graded functional ceramic nanocomposites for electromagnetic applications

Supervisor: Dr Claire Dancer

Project Overview:

Electromagnetic materials and metamaterials have been widely studied in recent years for use in functional devices such as invisibility cloaks, lenses, and waveguides. However, the ability to produce these devices by industrially-relevant methods is currently limited by the range of materials and processes accessible to those working in the field.

Dielectric ceramic materials have high permittivities (strong effects on electromagnetic waves) across wide frequency ranges and are therefore attractive for use in electromagnetic applications. Nanocomposite ceramics would be very suitable for use in radio and microwave devices for communications due to their feature sizes. However, for such materials to be exploited in these devices it is first necessary to demonstrate how the electromagnetic properties of the ceramic can be varied spatially within the material in a controllable way. In lab-scale demonstrator devices this is generally achieved by hand assembling blocks of materials of different compositions; however air gaps and other discontinuities in the structure occur which limit the effectiveness of the device. The aim of this PhD project is to develop flexible ceramic-based processing routes which allow the direct production of spatially varied compositions using systematically varying compositions of nanocomposite materials.

This project will involve the preparation of suitable composite ceramic materials by milling and freeze-drying and the manufacture of ceramic materials with graded electromagnetic properties by routes including die pressing and 3D printing. The student will gain hands-on experience in a range of characterisation techniques to measure the microstructural, mechanical and electromagnetic properties of the materials. These will include scanning electron microscopy, Raman microscopy and X-ray diffraction, using characterisation facilities based in WMG and other departments at the University of Warwick. Interaction with collaborating academic groups and industrial partners working in this area can be expected, as well as attendance at international conferences.

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This PhD project would suit students with a good undergraduate degree in materials science, chemistry or engineering and an interest in carrying out hands-on experimental research. Prior experience of materials processing and/or characterisation would be an advantage.

Awards available: 1 award available.

Funding Details: Fees and maintenance at RCUK Level

Length of Award: 3.5 years (PhD)

Eligibility: Due to funding restrictions funding is available for well-qualified UK or EU students. Other motivated students are encouraged to apply but will need to secure their own funding

Application Details:

This project is available to start on 1st October 2013 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Please contact Dr Claire Dancer by email ( with informal enquires about this project.

Please apply directly via PG Admissions and note the reference number. Click here for the application form: 

Deadline:  31 October 2013

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