PhD: Studentship: Isotopic, Semiconducting Diamond Materials as a Plasma-facing Material for Fusion Power

University of Bristol - School of Chemistry and UKAE Culham

The project:

Diamond is an attractive material for use as a shielding material in fusion reactors due to its exceptional radiation harness, thermal conductivity and low sputtering yield. However, its main disadvantage is the high level of tritium retention which subsequently leads to its degradation and graphitisation and a consequential loss in shielding performance and stability.

Funded jointly by the EPSRC and the UKAE, this research project seeks to evaluate the performance of diamond materials synthesised from Carbon 13/Carbon 12 composites with varying levels of dopant impurities, to be used as a wall material in tokamak fusion reactors such as MAST.

Experimental work will be carried out both at the Bristol as a member of the Diamond Group in the School of Chemistry, and at UKAE Culham, as a member of the Tritium Engineering and Science Group. It is expected that the student will spend at least 50% of their time conducting experimental work based at Culham.

Experimental activities will explore the effect of surface composition and topology on erosion resistance under Deuterium and Tritium ion exposure, and the level of tritium retention in highly oriented, microcrystalline semiconducting diamond composites. A secondary aim of the project will be to develop smart wall materials that incorporate self-powered diamond sensors to monitor the operation and health of the plasma facing wall material.

The PhD project will involve training in the use of Chemical Vapour Deposition equipment for diamond growth of semiconducting composite materials and their characterisation using state of the art equipment, such as the Bristol NanoESCA. It will also involve the setting to work of a portable CVD diamond growth system at Culham to support reactor wall studies and the fabrication of smart wall materials. As a member of the Tritium Group at Culham you will be trained to use characterisation tools in the Materials Research Laboratory for subjecting diamond materials to simulated plasma-facing conditions. The student will also be expected to conduct some computational work to support the experimental activities at Culham.

TTPlease make an online application for this project at Please select <programme title> on the Programme Choice page. You will be prompted to enter details of the studentship in the Funding and Research Details sections of the form.

Candidate requirements: The successful candidate should be a hold a first class or 2.1 MSci or BSc degree preferably in either Chemical Physics, Chemistry, Physics or related Science discipline. Previous experience of diamond synthesis, material characterisation, and computational modelling would be an advantage.


Contacts: Dr Neil Fox, School of Chemistry

Share this PhD
  Share by Email   Print this job   More sharing options
We value your feedback on the quality of our adverts. If you have a comment to make about the overall quality of this advert, or its categorisation then please send us your feedback
Advert information

Type / Role:



South West England