PhD - Photonic Sintering of Conducting Structures in Optical Materials (in Manchester and Singapore-September start 2016)

The University of Manchester

This PhD project is a collaboration between the University of Manchester Photon Science Institute (PSI) and the Process Technology Team at the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology. It will explore photonic sintering based on ultrafast laser inscription techniques to create conducting structures in novel optical materials using silver and copper nanoparticles and Graphene:

  1. Within non-standard optical substrates such as polymers and composites
  2. As a one-step “green” and chemical-free ambient photonic process, replacing high temperature annealing, clean room or gas controlled atmospheres, lithography or post processing to remove metal substrates.
  3. In 3D to create sub-surface structures.

The PhD project will explore new materials and inscription of conducting structures using lasers, and explore their scale-up into manufacturing processes. Current processes for printing electronic circuits requires multiple process steps, that are unable to be adapted for reel-to reel systems, and the new materials now required such as flexible substrates, and low temperature substrates such as polymers. Current production techniques are not “Green” and require complex etching and chemical steps.

The project will take place in two centres:

  1. At the University of Manchester, in Year 1, the student will explore fundamental laser-material interactions using femtosecond laser suites available at the Photon Science Institute, and create novel materials based on Graphene and metal nano-particle composites.
  2. At the A*STAR Research Institute: (years 2 and 3), the student will be based in theSingapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology and will define the process flow for integration into manufacturing process and scale up of photonic sintering of conducting patterns in nano-particle metal-insulator composites.

The student will return to Manchester for final experiments, to explore technology transfer between the two centres in the fourth year and writing up their PhD thesis.

You should be a UK or EU national and demonstrate academic excellence with a first class undergraduate degree and high motivation for research, with the willingness to spend a substantial period (2 years) at a leading research institute in Singapore. Studentships will include:

  • University fees
  • Monthly stipend
  • Airfare grants
  • Settling-in allowance (Singapore)
  • Medical insurance (Singapore)

Please submit an online application form with supporting documents including:

  1. A supporting statement: maximum of 1000 words summarising your motivation for PhD study, outlining any research experience and why you want to do a postgraduate research degree in Manchester, and in particular note why the Programme appeals to you (for example have you studied abroad before)
  2. Two references from people who have knowledge of your academic ability, on signed, dated and on headed paper, with a Referee Report Form.
  3. Certificates and transcripts from all your current/previous degrees.
  4. Official English Language transcript (IELTS or TOEFL), if applicable. We require a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 overall [or TOEFL (paper) 577, TOEFL (internet) 90]. The University of Manchester's TOEFL code is 0757.
  5. Current Curriculum Vitae (CV).
  6. A current photograph of yourself

Please contact Dr Patricia Scully for further details or discussion.

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Northern England