All job vacancies in the UK must be advertised by law. Most universities, including Liverpool, use the website www.jobs.ac.uk 

The University’s own website for advertising vacancies is www.liverpool.ac.uk/working/jobvacancies/

Whenever vacancies are advertised, there will be a free and open competition for the positions. We always want to encourage the best applicants. To make an application you must apply to the University by the formal mechanisms indicated in the links from the job advertisement.  Please note that if no vacancy is advertised, then there is no vacancy available at the present time.

PhD Studentships in Condensed Matter Physics

The Condensed Matter Physics group has several PhD studentships available for an October 2024 start. A degree (First or Upper Second class) in Physics, Materials Science, Biophysics, Chemical Physics or a related field is required. The closing date for applications is in February 2024 – final date TBC, with interviews taking place between late-February and early-March. Unless stated otherwise, funding comes from the EPSRC DTP award and will be open to UK-eligible students only. The award will pay full tuition fees and a maintenance grant for 3.5 years (currently £18,854 p.a.). We especially welcome applications from members of underrepresented and minoritised communities.

We also welcome and support prospective students who are either able to self-fund their PhD studies or are planning for or have already secured a funded PhD scholarship. We can point interested candidates to suitable schemes. More information about the level of funding needed to self-fund is available at the University webpage.

How to Apply

For informal inquiries regarding a PhD in Condensed Matter Phyiscs, please contact Dr Joe Forth (j.forth@liverpool.ac.uk).

To make a formal PhD application, click here.

Our PhD applications are handled collectively. Under supervisor, please put Dr Joe Forth to facilitate the application processing.

Please indicate in your application which of the projects below you are interested in (you can select more than one). Further information on these projects can be obtained from the listed contacts. Please do not hesitate to reach out via email to discuss these opportunities further. The positions will be filled as soon as a suitable candidate is found.

Projects Offered

We currently offer PhDs in the following projects; please note we strongly expect further projects to be advertised over the coming weeks.

Ultrafast transient absorption spectroscopy of bacterial photosynthetic supercomplexes

Photosynthesis is how the majority of organisms produce energy and support most of life on Earth. As such by gaining an understanding of the processes that nature has evolved, we can advance methods to harvest the sun’s energy, enabling global climate change goals to be achieved. A good model bacteria to understand the photosynthetic light-harvesting and energy transduction is purple phototropic bacteria. Purple bacteria are of particular research interest as they can absorb light over a broad spectral range in a diverse environmental niches and can produce hydrogen along with being able to fixate both nitrogen and CO2. In this project you will investigate charge and energy transfer dynamics in the light harvesting-reaction centre complexes of purple bacteria using ultrafast transient absorption laser spectroscopy. In order to gain a deeper understanding of the structure-function relationship of the photosynthetic core complex, a series of genetically modified protein complexes will be investigated using spectroscopic and structural techniques. Energy and transfer dynamic data will be analysed using a range of techniques including life time density and global lifetime analysis and correlated with structural and activity data of the complexes. The project is located at the Physics department of the University of Liverpool and co-supervised by Dr Frank Jaeckel (Physics) and Prof Luning Liu (Biochemistry and Systems Biology). It will make extensive use of the transient absorption spectroscopy facility in the Early Career Laser Laboratory at Liverpool. There will also be opportunities to develop skills in biological sample preparation using the protein production facility in the Department of Biochemistry and Systems Biology at Liverpool.

For more details contact: Frank Jaeckel (fjaeckel@liverpool.ac.uk), Luning Liu (lnliu@liverpool.ac.uk)

Early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer utilizing an IR fingerprint of blood

This project aims to develop a method of diagnosing pancreatic cancer, which is the most lethal of the common cancers, from the analysis of infrared signatures of blood.  This approach has the potential to satisfy the urgent clinical need for an early diagnosis of this disease which is the major problem that must be overcome in order to reducing mortality. The PhD student will be a key member of a strong interdisciplinary team of physicists (Peter Weightman and Stephen Barrett) that have recently developed a patented machine learning algorithm for the analysis of infrared spectral images of cancer and pancreatologists (Eithne Costello, Christopher Halloran and Pedro Perez-Mancera) with a long track record of research on pancreatic cancer.  

For more details contact: Peter Weightman (peterw@liverpool.ac.uk)

Surface Properties of high entropy alloys

The discovery of high entropy alloys (HEA) has attracted much attention in the field of condensed matter physics and material engineering [1].  HEA are alloys formed by at least five elements randomly distributed on crystal lattice sites. They exhibit unexpected properties opening new areas of research in fundamental science and technological applications. Many of the potential applications of HEA such as catalysts and coating materials in transport and aerospace industries are related to surface phenomena. Therefore, an atomic scale understanding of HEA surfaces and interfaces would be vital to optimising these properties. This project deals with characterisation of surface atomic and electronic properties and oxidation behaviour of HEA using ultra-high vacuum-based experimental techniques including X-ray Photoemission Spectroscopy (XPS), Scanning Tunnelling Microscopy (STM), and Low Energy Electron Diffraction (LEED). The candidate will work under the supervision of Dr Hem Raj Sharma and Dr Sam Coates. The experimental work will be carried out in the Department of Physics of the University of Liverpool. However, the candidate will be provided the opportunity to perform experiments in the laboratories of our overseas collaborators including member institutes of the European Integrated Centre for the Development of New Metallic Alloys and Compounds (C-MAC) and/or at large-scale facilities such as ESRF or Diamond.

For more details contact: Hem Raj Sharma (hemraj@liverpool.ac.uk)

In-situ x-ray and electrochemical characterisation of energy materials

Electrochemical processes play a crucial role in our daily life and underpin many technologies such as corrosion inhibition, metal plating, energy supply through batteries and energy conversion by fuel cells and solar cells. The project will help to establish structure-stability-reactivity relationships of metal electrodes and their oxides which are of high importance to catalytic applications. Elucidating the role of the individual elements and the resulting structure and distribution of electrons for activity and stability will help to design in the future more widely functional materials from a rational design approach. These processes will be studied by electrochemical methods which will give insight into nucleation, growth process and stability.  Combined with structural and spectroscopic X-ray methods details about the bonding and atomic charges can be obtain and directly linked to the electrochemical behaviour. The experimental work will include laboratory-based characterisation by electrochemical methods and X-ray methods. Travel to various synchrotron (e.g. ESRF (Grenoble), Diamond (Oxford)) is foreseen for the in-situ characterisation by x-ray scattering methods. Training in all aspects of the project will be provided with access to state-of-the-art infrastructure in the University. The student will acquire skills in materials processing and characterisations and in the application of synchrotron radiation for the study of materials.

For more details contact: Yvonne Grunder (grunder@liverpool.ac.uk), Chris Lucas (clucas@liverpool.ac.uk)

Manipulating radical beams to study radical–surface and ion–radical interactions

Radicals are prevalent in gas-phase environments such as the atmosphere, combustion systems, the interstellar medium, and even exhaled breath. However, it is technically challenging to prepare sources of pure gas-phase radicals with tuneable properties. To overcome this issue, we have recently constructed a versatile and innovative “magnetic guide”. The magnetic guide produces a beam of state-selected radicals with continuously tuneable velocity from a mixture of gases (containing radicals, precursor molecules and seed gases). The device is currently being characterised, and will shortly be combined with two existing experiments—an ion trap and a liquid-surface set-up—for the study ion-radical and radical-liquid surface interactions with unprecedented control and precision. In this way, we can examine important gas-phase radical interactions in isolation (i.e. without competing side reactions) for the first time.

The project will involve a combination of experimental measurements and simulations, using evolutionary algorithms to optimise the experimental parameters. You will work closely with experienced group members, whilst still being able to take ownership of the project. You will also have the opportunity to help shape the direction of the research, depending on your strengths and interests. Further information can be found at https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/physics/research/heazlewood-group/research/

For more details contact: Brianna Heazlewood (b.r.heazlewood@liverpool.ac.uk)


All current opportunities will be listed below.

Internships will be advertised as they become available.

Listings – Jobs, studentships and summer placements currently available

Jobs, studentships and summer placements will be advertised as they become available.