PhD Studentship: The Kinetics of Astrochemical and Planetary Reactions Studied at Very Low Temperatures

University of Leeds - School of Chemistry.

Number of awards: 1

Deadline: Ongoing

Key benefits: The PhD will provide a broad spectrum of training in the use of high power lasers, vacuum systems, optics, computer controlled data acquisition systems and numerical calculations. You will work in a well equipped laboratory and be part of the active, thriving and well-funded Atmospheric and Planetary Chemistry group within the School of Chemistry. You will be supported to attend both national and international conferences, and will receive a wide range of training, for example in communication skills and other technical aspects.

Supervisor(s): Contact Professor Dwayne Heard to discuss this project further informally.

Project description

Neutral – neutral reactions are important in low temperature environments such as the interstellar medium (ISM), dense molecular clouds of star forming regions and planetary atmospheres, for example Titan, which is considered as an analogue of the primeval atmosphere of Earth. However, the chemical databases used to model such environments contain a relatively small number of this class of reaction and the low-temperature chemistry is poorly understood.

In this project you will measure rate constants and product branching ratios at very low temperatures using laser flash-photolysis combined with a variety of laser-based spectroscopic detection methods. You will interpret the laboratory measurements using theoretical methods, making use of ab initio potential energy surfaces and master equation calculations (using the MESMER program [7], developed in Leeds) to calculate rate constants as a function of temperature and pressure. These experiments use laser flash-photolysis combined with laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) spectroscopy, will be extended to study further reactions of OH, 1CH2 and other radicals, and will monitor both reactants and products, using LIF.

The PhD will provide a broad spectrum of training in the use of high power lasers, vacuum systems, optics, computer controlled data acquisition systems and numerical calculations. You will work in a well-equipped laboratory and be part of the active, thriving and well-funded Atmospheric and Planetary Chemistry group within the School of Chemistry. You will be supported to attend both national and international conferences, and will receive a wide range of training, for example in communication skills and other technical aspects.

Entry requirements

Applications are invited from candidates with or expecting a minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree (2:1), and/ or a Master's degree in a relevant science subject (but not limited to) chemistry or chemical engineering.

How to apply

Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the university's website. Please state clearly in the research information section that the PhD you wish to be considered for is 'The kinetics of astrochemical and planetary reactions studied at very low temperatures' as well as Professor Dwayne Heard as your proposed supervisor.

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University's minimum English language requirements.

If you require any further information please contact the Graduate School Office e: chmpost@leeds.ac.uk

We welcome scholarship applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.

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Type / Role:

PhD

Location(s):

Northern England