PhD Studentship: Understanding key processes governing luminescence temperature memory coating systems

Imperial College London

Duration: 36 months (starting on 1st January 2017)

Supervisor: Professor Stephen Skinner

The Department of Materials at Imperial College London, in collaboration with Sensor Coating Systems (, is looking for an outstanding candidate to undertake a PhD project in which the key objective is to develop atomistic understanding of the key interactions between the active luminescent materials and the coating system in which it is applied.   

Project Description and Objectives

This project will aim to understand and improve the behaviour of the Thermal History Technology, developed by SCS, at elevated temperatures. The Thermal History Technology is currently successfully used in industrial applications up to 1,000°C – this project will see its extension towards 1400°C. Based on the understanding of the existing systems, the candidate will design, manufacture, test and apply a new material system.

Tasks will include:

  • Investigation of the interaction between the coatings and the high-temperature substrates in order to understand the effect of different alloys or application parameters, such as coating thickness or substrate roughness
  • Research into the operational differences between the low temperature and high temperature regime, supported by the scientific understanding of the undergoing processes
  • Detailed analysis of the chemistry involved, and an intimate understanding of the crystallisation processes and all significant parameters, and how they vary with temperature
  • Manufacture and application of paint batches and coatings with varying characteristics, followed by characterisation of their differences
  • If needed, the project may be expanded to include a survey of other suitable material and binder combinations that may address the challenges found at higher temperatures

This will involve significant materials characterisation effort, including X-ray Diffraction (XRD), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR), electron microscopy (SEM) and thermal analysis (TA). The pigment and coating manufacture will be performed at Sensor Coating Systems, as well as all the optical analysis, including phosphorescent emission spectra and decay measurements. This funding stream requires you to be a home/EU student.   

You will hold, or be expected to achieve, a Master's degree in addition to a Bachelor's degree (or equivalent) at 2:1 level (or above) in a relevant subject (e.g. Materials, Physics, Chemistry, Mechanical, Electrical or Chemical Engineering).  

For more information please contact Prof Stephen Skinner ( Formal applications will be accepted through the Imperial College web page: 

How to apply:

Eligible applicants will be required to complete a full electronic application form. The prospectus, entry requirements and application form (under ‘how to apply’) are available at:

Closing date: 20th December 2016

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