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

University of Oxford

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Oxford
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £14,777
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 7th June 2018
Closes: 24th August 2018

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) materials. Differences in the microstructure of PCD have an enormous influence on durability but there is no clear understanding of what the optimum microstructure should be for a given application. 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 (10 microns to 10 mm) and characterising the microstructures produced using a range of state-of-the-art techniques. 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 micromechanical testing, 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:

The studentship 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

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