PhD Studentship Ultra-rapid Microwave Synthesis of Functional and Structural Materials

The University of Glasgow is seeking a highly motivated graduate to undertake an exciting PhD project on “Ultra-rapid microwave synthesis of functional and structural materials”.

Industrial processing of materials will need to be energy efficient and sustainable in addition to being economically viable. Rapid processing and energy efficiency are criteria that can be met by microwave (MW) methods. For the materials chemist MWs also offer access to new (metastable) materials and an opportunity to understand the interaction of electric (and magnetic) fields with solids as part these processes. Developing this understanding is especially challenging since unravelling the sequences of reactions and how and why they occur requires us to probe processes that occur over timescales orders of magnitude lower than conventional solid state reactions. In this project we aim to understand both the ways in which MWs interact with solids and the mechanisms of the solid state reactions that occur within a MW field and use this understanding to prepare both important and new materials.

We will study solid state reactions from 20 to << 1 min with bespoke reactors and the use of in-situ (e.g. optical pyrometry) and ex-situ (e.g. powder X-ray diffraction (PXD), electron microscopy (SEM, TEM) dielectric measurements) characterisation methods. To investigate dynamic processes, however, is effectively impossible by these methods alone and we will develop our recent work with reactors for in-situ powder neutron diffraction at ISIS, RAL in the UK and ILL, Grenoble in France. We intend to study of number of materials systems of increasing complexity covering both functional and structural materials plus potential new compounds and materials. These will include binary and ternary carbides, layered carbosulfides, borides and borocarbides.

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Applicants should be UK nationals with a First Class or Upper Second Class Honours degree or equivalent in Chemistry, Materials Science or related disciplines. The successful candidate will be highly self-motivated, be goal oriented and have good writing and communication skills. An enthusiasm for innovation and speculative thinking is particularly encouraged. A masters degree in a relevant subject would be advantageous but is not essential.

Applications will be assessed as received and all applicants should follow the standard College postgraduate admission process ( For further information on this project, potential applicants are encouraged to contact Professor Duncan Gregory ( in the School of Chemistry.

Funding Notes

The studentship is funded for 3.5 years and covers a student stipend at the Research Council recommended rate which is £13,726 per annum. 

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