Fully-Funded (Home/EU Rate) PhD Studentship

University of Cambridge - Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 3.5 years in the first instance.

EPSRC Studentship in the field of Materials Chemistry

Full or fees-only awards available to students who pay 'home rate' fees starting date: April 2018 or October 2018

Applications are invited for a fully-funded EPSRC studentship, to be supervised by Dr Tom Bennett (tdb35@cam.ac.uk) in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy.

The Development of Hybrid Liquids

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are a relatively new class of nanoporous compounds formed from inorganic nodes linked by organic ligands. Their extremely high surface areas mean they have significant potential for use in gas storage and separations (e.g. H2, CO2, N2, CH4) catalysis, nerve agent destruction and radioactive waste recycling. Their chemical properties are relatively well understood, which leads to their widespread use as molecular sieves, which discriminate between guest molecules not only on size, but on chemical identity.

Their physical properties are however substantially less well understood, and over 99.9% of the 60,000 reported structures are crystalline, ordered solids. The stability and malleability means glasses and organic polymers on the other hand are heavily employed across the materials spectrum, in strikingly diverse applications such as DVD re-writable technology, medicine and photovoltaics. Three categories of melt-quenched glass are currently accepted: (i) inorganic (non-metallic), (ii) organic and (iii) metallic. However, we are largely unable to accurately design amorphous materials with precisely defined properties, due to the limited chemical functionality that can be incorporated into glassy substances.

The group has recently demonstrated the formation of glasses from MOFs, which form the first new family of glass-forming compounds discovered since the 1970s.1-4 This studentship will capitalize on our recent investigations into the liquid-phase of a MOF,5 and structurally characterize further examples of this new type of matter. A specific target is the synthesis of luminescent porous liquids, arising from porous solids which melt at low temperatures, for separation and sensing applications.

  1. Bennett et al, Nat. Chem., 2017, 9, 11-16 2. Bennett et al, J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2016, 138, 3484-3492 3. Thornton et al, Chem. Commun., 2016, 52, 3750-3753 4. Bennett et al, Nat. Commun., 2015, 6, 8079 5. Gaillac et al, Nat. Mater., 2017, accepted

The minimum academic requirement for admission is an upper second class UK honours degree at the level of MSci, MEng, MPhys, MChem etc, or a lower second with a good Master's, (or overseas equivalents) in a relevant subject.

The studentship provides a maintenance grant at the minimum Research Council UK rate and tuition fees at the UK/EU rate for students who fully satisfy the residence requirements of the UK Research Councils. A fees-only award will be available to EU nationals who are not ordinarily resident in the UK.  Students who are liable for fees at the 'overseas' rate are not eligible for this studentship.

Prospective candidates should send a CV, with transcripts (if available) and a covering letter to Dr Tom Bennett (tdb35@cam.ac.uk) by Friday 8 December.

Shortlisted candidates will subsequently be required to submit a formal application to the Graduate Admissions Office (http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/how-do-i-apply). A £50 application fee will apply at this stage.

Please quote reference LJ13643 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University values diversity and is committed to equality of opportunity.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.

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