Studentship: In-situ Characterisation of Organic Thin Films using Neutron and X-Ray Scattering

University of Oxford - Department of Physics

Funding amount: £14,553 per annum (minimum)

Closes: Once position is filled, but latest Friday, 25th August 2017

3 year PhD/DPhil studentship, available from October 2017 (subject to eligibility requirements below)

Research Area

This doctoral studentship is a collaboration between the University of Oxford (Physics Department) and the ISIS Muon and Neutron Source near Oxford. The academic supervisor is Dr Moritz Riede, and the co-supervisors are Dr Robert Dalgliesh (ISIS) and Prof Chris Nicklin (Diamond Light Source).

Organic semiconductors (OSC) have demonstrated great promise for use in next-generation electronic devices, from organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) found in many mobile phone displays to other applications including solar cells and sensors. A major challenge in making these technologies a reality is understanding how these materials arrange during fabrication on the molecular level and how the initial fabricated state evolves during operation. Changes in microstructure can drastically affect the performance and lifetime of the devices.

The student will use X-rays and neutrons to characterise the microstructure of vacuum-deposited OSCs, with a focus on bridging our understanding of thin film microstructure with underlying solar cell device physics. She/he will carry out their research using our world-class X-ray characterisation facilities in Oxford for ex-situ studies, as well as our new deposition chamber at Diamond Light Source beamline I07 for in-situ X-ray scattering. Part of this studentship will also exploit techniques available at the new Larmor instrument at ISIS for the characterisation of OSC thin films, including small-angle neutron scattering and spin-precession methods, with the goal of developing a similar deposition chamber for in-situ deposition measurements at Larmor. These unique sample environments will lay the foundation for new, world-leading capabilities for the study of OSCs and other vacuum-deposited advanced functional materials.

Award Value

The studentship covers University and College fees at the level set for UK students, plus the standard stipend (tax-free maintenance grant) of £14,553 per year. The UK government has confirmed here that Brexit won’t change the fee status of non-UK EU students starting 2017 during their course.


The studentship is open to both UK students and EU students. Please see also the EPSRC and STFC eligibility requirements.

Candidate Requirements

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

  • A first class honours (or high 2.1) degree in Physics, Materials Science, Engineering or a related field
  • Experience working in a laboratory environment
  • Understanding of microstructural characterisation using X-rays and/or neutrons
  • Excellent written and spoken communication skills in English (see here

The following skills are desirable but not essential:

  • Experience in organic semiconductors
  • Experience using vacuum deposition equipment
  • Experience in scientific programming using Python
  • Experience in CAD design and engineering

Application Procedure

Candidates must complete the standard Oxford University Application for Graduate Studies for a D.Phil. in Condensed Matter Physics. Further information and the on-line application form can be found at

Questions about the project should be addressed to Dr Moritz Riede (, but please first look at our FAQ.

Application deadline: The call will remain open until the position is filled (applications will be considered as they are received) or latest 25August 2017.

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