PhD Studentship - The Laser Processing of Diamond Materials for Cutting Tool Performance Enhancement

University of Nottingham - Engineering

Location: University Park

Diamond and it related family of man-made materials posses an amazing combination of extreme properties, which have the potential to revolutionise society through transformative breakthroughs in electronics, manufacturing, measurement and sensing, theory and computation, medicine and biochemistry, optics and photonics, and quantum technologies. Exploitation requires multi-disciplinary trained scientists capable of transforming these materials for the intended application.

The processing of diamond and related material structures (PCD, PCBN and CVD diamond) using ultra-short pulsed lasers has proven to be highly predictable as a result of the controlled removal of material by ablation. Published scientific research has also revealed that short pulse ablation processes induce minimal thermal damage to underlying structures, thereby offering the potential to utilise laser processing for the generation of intricate micro geometries, patterning and textures for a wide range of scientific and industrial uses.

There is consequently a need to obtain an in-depth scientific understanding of laser processing for the functional enhancement of PCD, PCBN and CVD diamond materials. The objectives of this study programme are to investigate laser processes on diamond materials for the manufacture of novel high performance cutting tools. This will be conducted by the laser generation of micro geometries and textures aided by computer based modelling and simulation to achieve increases in cutting efficiency, reduce cutting friction and enhance cooling, leading to higher levels in productivity and extended tool life. The investigations will be undertaken on one of the latest generation ultra-short pulsed laser systems and using high-resolution thermal and optical imaging and data capture apparatus for evaluations of tool performance.

The study will incorporate a taught MSc programme on diamond and related materials at the University of Warwick followed by a PhD study on laser processing at the University of Nottingham. 1+3 years tuition fees (at ‘home’ rate) and a stipend will be provided. Applicants should hold or expect to be awarded a first or upper second class honours BSc, MSc or MPhys, MChem, MEng, etc. in Physics, Chemistry, Materials Science, Earth Science, Engineering, Life Sciences, Mathematics or in an appropriate related discipline.

To be eligible for a fully funded studentship, you must be a UK citizen; or an EU national who has been resident in the UK for the past three years.

For further information please contact Dr Paul Butler-Smith ( More details of the programme and of this specific project are available at:

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Midlands of England