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PhD in Chemistry: Investigating new photoactive ferroelectrics using dynamic X-ray diffraction techniques


Research Field
Natural sciences



Dr Lauren Hatcher, a new School of Chemistry academic, is recruiting for a PhD student on the research project: Dynamic X-ray Diffraction in Solar Energy Materials Design.


This project will investigate new photo-active ferroelectric materials and determine the structural basis for their light-induced functionality using in-situ crystallographic methods. Photoactive ferroelectric materials can directly convert sunlight into electricity and are highly desirable for solar energy applications. New materials must offer increased solar conversion efficiency and understanding the link between a material’s structure and its useful bulk properties is essential. By combining aspects of single-crystal X-ray diffraction, in-situ and time-resolved experimentation, we will watch how these materials interact with light in real-time. This improved understanding will then be taken back into the synthetic lab and used to design new materials with improved photo-induced ferroelectric capabilities.


The PhD student project will combine aspects of both the analytical and synthetic sides of this research.

The student will have the opportunity to work at the cutting-edge of in-situ and time-resolved single-crystal diffraction research in the UK. They will receive detailed training in single-crystal X-ray diffraction, enabling them to take part in, and in time design, in-situ experiments with different stimuli including light irradiation, temperature and electric fields. As well as thorough training in these areas of crystallographic research, a dedicated and hardworking candidate will also become proficient in applicable inorganic synthesis methods, crystallization, dielectric measurements and spectroscopic analysis techniques.

What is funded

This studentship is open to Home, EU or Overseas Candidates.

However, Overseas candidates should note that they will be required to cover the difference between Home and Overseas fees each year.

This is a 3 year funded post with Home/EU tuition fees funded and a standard stipend.


Suitable applicants will have a good first degree (2:1 or higher) in Chemistry and first-hand experience in a relevant area of chemistry is highly desirable: e.g. crystallography, crystallization, synthetic inorganic chemistry, photochemistry or supramolecular chemistry. Knowledge of in-situ crystallographic methods (photocrystallography, high-pressure, electric field or gas-cell methods), or a familiarity with ferroelectric materials would also be desirable, though not essential.

Candidates should be able to demonstrate a strong interest in solid-state chemical research, be highly motivated and show a willingness to take ownership of their own research project as their knowledge and skill-base increases.

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language (IELTS 6.5 or equivalent)

How to Apply

Applicants should apply to the Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry with a start date of October 2020:

In the research proposal section of your application, please specify the project title and supervisors of this project and copy the project description in the text box provided. In the funding section, please select ’I will be applying for a scholarship/grant’ and specify that you are applying for advertised funding from PhD in Chemistry: Investigating new photoactive ferroelectrics using dynamic X-ray diffraction techniques


Organisation name
Cardiff University
Organisation Country
More Information

The responsibility for the funding offers published on this website, including the funding description, lies entirely with the publishing institutions. The application is handled uniquely by the employer, who is also fully responsible for the recruitment and selection processes.