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Positions Available

A funded PhD position to work on functional molecular materials from October 2022 is now filled.

The project will build on our recent developments on the application of so-called molecular distortion modes to organic materials. For example, in a 2019 Chemistry of Materials paper we describe how molecular disortion modes lead to a compact one-parameter description of a phase transition in chloranilic acid pyrazine which gives rise to the remarkable property of colossal negative thermal expansion – the material contracts in one dimension by over 10% on heating through just 100 K. In a 2018 Journal of the American Chemical Society paper we describe how similar ideas can be used to understand the unusual phase transitions in the important molecular ferroelectric DCMBI.

In this project we will apply these methods to identfy new technologically important molecular materials, particluarly those with potential ferroelectric properties. The project will use new intelligent and exhaustive search algorithms to identify potentially interesting materials, and then experimental studies to understand their properties. The experimental program will involve synthesis, structural studies using powder and single crystal diffraction, dielectric spectroscopy, inelastic neutron scattering and thermal analysis. As the project develops we may apply computational methods such as densifity functional theory (DFT) to understand the properties of key materials. You will be given training in all these techniques.

The project will be co-supervised by John Evans, Ivana Evans and David Tozer. It is suitable for students with a chemistry, physics or similar first degree. Full funding (fees and stipend) is avaiable for UK students. Email [email protected] for more information on how to apply.

Students interested in other PhD positions or 4th year research projects are welcome to contact me at any time.

Information on scholarships or research fellowships is available via the Department’s website.