PhD Studentship: Towards the Perfect Neck for High Pressure High Temperature Polycrystalline Diamond

University of Oxford

Professor Richard Todd, Professor Peter Nellist and from Element 6 Global Innovation Centre:  Dr Roger Nilen, Dr Ed Eardley 

This PhD is based on the mechanical properties and microstructure of high pressure, high temperature polycrystalline diamond.

Diamond is the hardest known material and this property has recently been harnessed for practical applications in the development of synthetic, polycrystalline diamond (PCD) tools for cutting through the hardest and most abrasive of materials (including rock, road surfaces and metals).  Differences in the microstructure of PCD have an enormous influence on tool life but there is no clear understanding of what the optimum microstructure should be for a given application and therefore no clear direction for the future development of processing.  This project aims to alleviate this problem by producing a range of contrasting (PCD) microstructures, measuring their mechanical properties over a range of length scales (microstructural to macropscopic) and characterising the microstructures produced using a range of state-of-the-art techniques.  The microstructural characterisation enables correlation with the properties and is central to the aims of the project. The investigation will concentrate on the “necks” – the boundaries between the individual diamond crystals, which have received relatively little attention to date.  Techniques used will include advanced TEM-based methods such as EELS, cathodoluminescence imaging in the SEM, neutron or synchrotron diffraction and other methods.

The successful applicant will follow the four-year EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Diamond Science and Technology programme, which involves a one year MSc based at Warwick University followed by a 3-year DPhil at Oxford. More details of the programme and of this specific project are available at:

A studentship is available for this project and is jointly funded by the Department of Materials at Oxford University and the company Element 6.

The 4-year studentship will provide full fees and maintenance for a student with home or EU fee status. The stipend is expected to be at least £14,777 per year.  Applicants with overseas fee status would have to provide from their own sources the difference between tuition fees at the home rate and overseas rate. Information on fee status can be found at

Applications will be considered as and when they are received and this position will be filled as soon as possible, but the latest date for receipt of applications will be 24 August 2018. 

Any questions concerning the project can be addressed to Professor Richard Todd (  General enquiries on how to apply can be made by e mail to  You must complete the standard Oxford University Application for Graduate Studies and further information and an electronic copy of the application form can be found at

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 East England