Research Studentship: Coherent X-ray Imaging of Crystal Defects

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, such as dislocations, play a fundamental role in determining the physical and mechanical properties of crystalline engineering materials. Their interactions are governed by the strain fields every defect gives rise to. Yet measuring these strain fields and how they may be modified, for example by impurities, is a monumental challenge.

The goal of this project is to develop new coherent synchrotron X-ray diffraction approaches for the probing of specific dislocation structures. The student will develop these new methods and test them on both semiconductors and metals. S/he will use further use them to probe the complex strain fields present in self-organised dislocation structures, as well as to investigate how impurities modify dislocation strain fields. These exciting measurements will be combined with multi-scale simulations, developed by collaborators, that aim to predict the formation of dislocation structures as well as the modification of dislocation strain fields.

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 analytical skills;
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills;
  • Willingness to spend several weeks per year travelling to international collaborators and science facilities for experimental work (expenses will be covered).

The following skills are desirable:

  • Ability to program in Matlab;
  • Knowledge of optics;
  • Knowledge of microscopy;
  • 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 (

Application deadline:  20th of January 2017

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