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PhD and MSc Projects

Project outlines are shown below - please contact any of the academic staff to discuss project opportunities further.

MSc by Research

Exploring Surface Structure Using Density Functional Theory

This cluster of projects involves applying density functional theory (DFT) to study the atomic structure of surfaces and interfaces. Professor Woodruff, Dr. Robinson and Dr. Bell can supervise or co-supervise projects in this area - who supervises you depends on the materials systems to be investigated. These include the surfaces of III-nitride semiconductors (important as future solar cell materials), interfaces and surfaces of novel magnetic materials for spintronics, and adsorbed layers of thiols on metal surfaces, which are used as so-called self-assembled monolayers in a host of industrial and medical applications. Modern DFT codes such as CASTEP and SPRKKR allow us to predict the detailed atomic structures of reconstructed surfaces and adsorbate layers. You will "solve" selected structures using these codes, implemented on both the CSC Cluster of Workstations and our own 40-core group cluster, and work with PhD students who are using a variety of experimenal techniques to determine the quantitative surface structure.


New magnetic structures for spintronics

This PhD project will be jointly supervised by Dr. Gavin Bell and Dr. Tom Hase (Magnetic X-ray Scattering Group).  An outline is available (PDF document).

Invisible electronics

This PhD project with Dr. Tim Veal aims to find new transparent conductors among oxide semiconductors - a key technological challenge which requires fundamental evaluation of the electronic properties of this new class of materials. A brief outline is available (PDF document).


Undergraduate Projects

It is also possible to apply for undergraduate summer research projects. Various sources of funding are available, principally the university's own URSS scheme and the Nuffield Foundation. These usually fund students in the middle years of their degree, e.g. between years 3 and 4 of an MPhys or MChem.