Research Studentship: Probing Damage in Fusion Reactor Materials using Laser-Induced Transient Gratings

University of Oxford - Department of Engineering Science

3.5-year DPhil studentship starting October 2017

Research Summary 
We are seeking a DPhil student to join the Hofmann group at the Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford, as part of the European Research Council funded project “AtoFun”.

Atomic scale crystal defects play a fundamental role in determining the properties of engineering materials. For example in intense irradiation environments such as future nuclear fusion reactors irradiation damage can dramatically change material behaviour. Much work has concentrated on how these defects affect mechanical properties. However thermal conductivity, which is of key importance for reactor design and operation, remains largely unexplored.

The goal of this project is to develop a new laser-induced transient grating setup to allow high spatial resolution thermal transport measurements in irradiation-damaged materials. Combined with electron and X-ray microscopy and multi-scale modelling these new measurements will help to shed light on the fundamental link between crystal defects and their effect on material properties.

The DPhil student will be supervised by Prof. Felix Hofmann and will work in a vibrant research environment interacting with colleagues in both Solid Mechanics and Nuclear Materials research communities. Further information about Prof. Hofmann’s research can be found at and additional details about the Solid Mechanics Group in the Department of Engineering Science are available at

Award Value 
The value of the studentship is £22,000 per year. The student will be responsible for covering the cost of university and college fees (

This studentship is open to all applicants.

Candidate Requirements
Prospective candidates will be judged according to how well they meet the following criteria:

  • Excellent degree in Engineering, Material Science, Physics, or another relevant discipline;
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills;
  • Willingness to travelling to international collaborators and science facilities for experimental work (expenses will be covered).

The following skills are desirable:

  • Ability to program in Matlab & Labview;
  • Knowledge of optics;
  • Knowledge of material defect modelling.

For further details about the studentship, and information on how to apply, please see

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Prof. Felix Hofmann (

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