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To model and manipulate material scatter effects to control the propagation of electromagnetic radiation, Physics & Astronomy - PhD (Funded)

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

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Exeter
Funding for: UK Students
Funding amount: £14,777 per year
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 18th October 2018
Closes: 30th January 2019
Reference: 3302

The University of Exeter’s College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, is inviting applications for a fully-funded PhD studentship to commence in April 2019 or as soon as possible thereafter.  For eligible students the studentship will cover UK tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of at least approximately £14,500 for 4 years full-time.  The student would be based in Physics Building at the Streatham Campus in Exeter.

The successful applicant will join TEAM-A: The tailored electromagnetic and acoustic materials accelerator (, an EPSRC Prosperity Partnership programme. The aim of this partnership, which builds upon the successful relationship that exists between the University of Exeter and QinetiQ, is to develop advanced materials and devices that can be used to control and manipulate the propagation of electromagnetic and acoustic energy, in a highly tailored, bespoke fashion, and develop innovative techniques for their cost-effective manufacture.

The studentship is to the value of 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

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 relevance to camouflage 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 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.

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