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PhD Studentship: Tunable Micro/Nano-electromechanical Devices for Advanced Switching

University of Southampton - Research Group: Engineering Materials

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Southampton
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: UK fees and stipend at the standard EPSRC rate
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 5th December 2018
Closes: 1st February 2019
Reference: MECHENG-MATS-503

Micro/Nano-electromechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS) have becoming a pervasive technology underpinning a range of modern applications including smart phones, medical devices & implants, high resolution displays, high sensitivity sensors. In particular, NEMS contact-based switches have demonstrated advantageous performance as compared with transistor based counterpart, including low power consumption, high efficiency, non-volatility, down-scalability and low cost etc., promising an appealing alternative as digital logic building blocks for the next-generation telecommunications and computing applications.  However, NEMS switches still face pressing challenges including reliability issues at contact, and stiction failure at manufacturing and operation stages.

This project will develop a novel range of tuneable micro/Nano-devices whereby their performance can be enhanced by inclusion of functional materials such as liquid crystals. This is a multidisciplinary project requiring MEMS/NEMS modelling based on multiphysics Finite Element Modelling (FEM), clean room micro/Nano fabrication for device implementation, and device testing and analysis etc. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to be trained and work in the Southampton University’s state-of-the-art cleanroom complex and world-leading laboratories, and supported by a team of interdisciplinary experts across the fields of NEMS, soft matter and physics. We would particularly welcome applications from candidates with backgrounds/experience/interest in MEMS/NEMS, electrical engineering, microelectronics and semiconductive devices. Applicants should be highly motivated in interdisciplinary research, communicate well and able to work as part of a team. Applicants are expected to hold undergraduate degrees equivalent to UK 1st class honours.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Prof. Liudi Jiang, Engineering Materials Research group, Email:, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 8748.

Funding and Eligibility

This 3 year studentship covers home-rate tuition fees and provides an annual tax-free stipend at the standard EPSRC rate, which is £14,777 for 2018/19.

This funding is only available to UK citizens or EU citizens who have been resident in the UK for at least 3 years prior to the start of the studentship and not mainly for the purpose of receiving full-time education. For further guidance on funding, please contact

How to Apply

Click here to apply and select the programme - PhD in Engineering and the Environment. Please enter the title of the PhD Studentship in the application form.

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