EPSRC CDT in Metamaterials/Prosperity Partnership TEAM-A (PhD studentship): To model and manipulate material scatter effects to control the propagation of electromagnetic radiation

University of Exeter - College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences

The studentship is part of the UK’s Centre of Doctoral Training in Metamaterials (XM2) and the Prosperity Partnership programme Tailored Electromagnetic & Acoustic Materials Accelerator (TEAM-A), based in the Departments of Physics and Engineering on the Streatham Campus in Exeter.  Its aim is to undertake world-leading research, while training scientists and engineers with the relevant research skills and knowledge, and professional attributes for industry and academia.

The studentships is of value around £90,000, which includes £11,000 towards the research project (travel, consumables, equipment etc.), tuition fees, and an annual, tax-free stipend of approximately £14,500 per year for UK nationals.

Statement of Research

Joint supervisors: Dr Jacopo Bertolotti, Dr Simon Horsley
Industry partner: QinetiQ

To develop new computer models of scatter effects to enable the design and the development of new materials and devices that can be used in a wide range of environments (e.g. atmosphere, oceans, etc.).  To determine and demonstrate the limits of surface scatter tailoring. The optical surface finish of an object can strongly dictate its appearance, a phenomenon of particular relevance to camourflage treatments: the display of a specific hue and brightness is important in any attempt to blend with the environment, but the degree of diffuseness of transmitted and/or reflected light is also crucial. Paints have been developed to display specific degrees of diffuseness (gloss to matt), largely via the addition of granules to introduce random scatter and surface roughness. However, whilst surface roughness can provide antireflection properties over a wide range of angles, the paints produced so far do not provide the desired degree of control, especially when trying to minimise effects such as grazing angle reflection ('glint').

The project will quantify scatter from the first principles in order to identify new materials and surface patterns that will provide a higher degree of control than is currently available when designing paints and appliques, particularly for use at non-visible wavelengths. Both reflective and transmissive scatter will be considered, using uniquely suited equipment at QinetiQ's Farnborough facilities (e.g. full and wideband Bidirectional Reflectance apparatus) in the pursuit of thin, lightweight and robust treatments. This will include the pursuit of a newly predicted structure that will entirely eliminate grazing-incidence scatter, redirecting it into a chosen direction.


This award provides annual funding to cover UK tuition fees and a tax-free stipend. For students who pay UK tuition fees the award will cover the tuition fees in full, plus at least £14,500 per year tax-free stipend. The studentship will be awarded on the basis of merit for 3 and half years of full-time study to commence in September 2018.

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South West England