EPSRC CDT in Metamaterials/Prosperity Partnership TEAM-A (PhD studentship): To model and manipulate material scatter effects to control the propagation of electromagnetic radiation Ref: 2830

About the award

The studentship is part of the UK’s Centre of Doctoral Training in Metamaterials (XM2) and the Prosperity Partnership programme Tailored Electromagnetic & Acoustic Materials Accelerator (TEAM-A), based in the Departments of Physics and Engineering on the Streatham Campus in Exeter.  Its aim is to undertake world-leading research, while training scientists and engineers with the relevant research skills and knowledge, and professional attributes for industry and academia.

The studentships is of value 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.

Exeter has a well-established and strong track record of relevant research, and prospective students can consider projects from a wide variety of fields:

  • Acoustic and Fluid-dynamical Metamaterials
  • Biological and Bio-inspired Metamaterials
  • Graphene and other 2D Materials, and related Devices
  • Magnonics, Spintronics and Magnetic Metamaterials
  • Microwave Metamaterials
  • Nanomaterials and Nanocomposites
  • Optical, Infra-red and THz Photonics and Plasmonics
  • Quantum Metamaterials
  • Wave Theory and Spatial Transformations

Please visit www.exeter.ac.uk/metamaterials to learn more about our centre and see the full list of projects that we have on offer this year.

Sponsor requirements limit this studentship to UK-nationals only.

Statement of Research

Joint supervisors: Dr Jacopo Bertolotti, Dr Simon Horsley

Industry partner: QinetiQ

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 particular relevance to camourflage 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 in order 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.

About XM2

Metamaterials are fabricated microstructures having properties beyond those found in nature. They are an important new class of electromagnetic and acoustic materials with applications in many technology areas: energy storage and improved efficiency, imaging, communications, sensing and the much-hyped ‘cloaking’. Having recruited nearly 70 new PhD researchers in its first four years, the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (XM2) hosted by the University of Exeter (www.exeter.ac.uk/metamaterials) will admit its fifth cohort of PhD students in September 2018.

The first year of the studentship includes an assessed, stand alone project, and a substantial programme of training. Students will choose from a wide range of taught modules, and participate in academic and personal development skills-based workshops, together with creativity events and conference-style meetings. The cohort will also be expected to disseminate their results to the international community via high-impact publications and international conferences. They will spend time working with our academic and industrial partners.  Full details of the programme are available here, or download a copy of our prospectus.

About TEAM-A

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.

About the University of Exeter

The University of Exeter combines world class research with excellent student satisfaction. It is a member of the Russell Group of leading research-intensive universities. Formed in 1955, the University has over 20,000 students from more than 130 different countries. Its success is built on a strong partnership with its students and a clear focus on high performance. Recent breakthroughs to come out of Exeter's research include the identification and treatment of new forms of diabetes and the creation of the world's most transparent, lightweight and flexible conductor of electricity. Exeter is ranked amongst the UK’s top 10 universities in the Higher Education league tables produced by the Times and the Sunday Times. It is also ranked amongst the world’s top 200 universities in the QS and Times Higher Education rankings.

Summary

Application deadline:31st January 2018
Number of awards:1
Value:Approximately £90,000, including research and travel budget, tuition fees and stipend (approximately £14500 payable to UK nationals only)
Duration of award:per year
Contact: Prof. Alastair Hibbins (Admissions Tutor)metamaterials@exeter.ac.uk

How to apply

Application criteria

During the application process you will need to upload the documents listed below. Please prepare these before starting the application process.

  • A statement describing why you would like to study for a PhD in Physics or Engineering,
  • A statement describing why you are considering a PhD programme that offers a cohort-based doctoral training model,
  • An academic CV,
  • A cover letter that discusses your preferred area(s) of study and/or your interest in a particular project/supervisor,
  • A document outlining your research interests and any relevant expertise,
  • Degree transcript(s) giving information about the qualification awarded, the modules taken during the study period, and the marks for each module taken,
  • The contact details of two academic referees.

Please note that of all the projects advertised we expect, as a Centre, to fill 15-20 posts only.

Shortlisting and interviews

Applications will be reviewed by members of the XM2 management board and candidates will be short-listed against a set of agreed criteria to ensure quality while maintaining diversity. Failure to include all the the elements above may result in rejection. Criteria will include:

ESSENTIAL

  • Excellence in a lower degree in a relevant discipline;
  • Excellence in written and oral skills in English;
  • Evidence of knowledge of the cohort ethos, research themes and/or supervisors.

DESIRABLE

  • Specialist knowledge about one or more relevant topics;
  • Research outputs (e.g. papers) and/or has undertaken training in research methodology (e.g. undergraduate research projects);
  • Ability to work collaboratively

Short-listed candidates will be interviewed by a panel of two academic members of staff drawn from the management board. If successful, a second interview will be undertaken by the potential academic supervisors for the student concerned. Offers are normally made shortly after a successful second interview.