Combinatorial Discovery of Complex Intermetallics Using Magnetron Sputtering

Reference number: CCPR077


This project involves the discovery of new intermetallic materials using combinatorial magnetron (DC/RF) sputtering. Arrays of materials with different compositions will be deposited onto substrates and will then be characterised to determine their crystal structures and properties. Interesting materials from the arrays can then be scaled-up for more detailed analysis. New intermetallic materials are important because they offer unexplored routes to, for example, low energy information storage and to solar fuels.

This project will use a newly acquired sputtering tool with combinatorial capability (up to three co-deposition sources) and will involve some method development and improvement, along with materials discovery, to increase throughput of the synthesis and characterisation of the arrays. The project will involve close collaboration with computational chemists to predict new structures and aid in the understanding of the properties of the new materials discovered in the arrays.

You will develop skills in thin film deposition, crystallography, physical property measurements, method development along with problem solving, team work and presentation skills. You will have the opportunity to work at international synchrotron X-ray and neutron scattering facilities. Experimental work will be enabled by instrumentation that is already established and available within the participating research groups, together with world-class characterization and synthetic facilities available within the Materials Innovation Factory. Owing to the multi-faceted nature of this dynamic project, the student will work closely with computer scientists, inorganic chemists, physicists, engineers, and material scientists to discover new materials for a variety of applications.

Qualifications: Applications are welcomed from students with a 2:1 or higher master’s degree or equivalent in Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, or Materials Science.

This position will remain open until a suitable candidate has been found. 

Informal enquiries should be addressed to Dr Troy Manning

Please apply by completing the online postgraduate research application form here: How to apply for a PhD - University of Liverpool.  Please ensure you quote the following reference on your application: CCPR077.


Open to students worldwide

Funding information

Funded studentship

Applications from candidates meeting the eligibility requirements of the EPSRC are welcome – please refer to the EPSRC website

If this studentship is funded by the EPSRC DTP scheme and is offered for 3.5years in total. It provides full tuition fees and a stipend of approx. £17,668 (this is the rate from 01/10/2022) full time tax free per year for living costs. The stipend costs quoted are for students starting from 1st October 2022 and will rise slightly each year with inflation.

The funding for this studentship also comes with a budget for research and training expenses of £1000 per year, and for those that are eligible, a disabled students allowance to cover the costs of any additional support that is required.

Due to a change in UKRI policy, this is now available for Home, EU or international students to apply. However, please be aware there is a limit on the number of international students we can appoint to these studentships per year.



Hansen et al, (2016) “Bifunctional alloys for the electroreduction of CO2 and CO.” Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 18, 9194-9201;

Gibson et al, (2022) “Single crystal growth and properties of the polar ferromagnet Mn1.05Bi with Kagome layers, huge magnetic anisotropy and slow spin dynamics” Phys. Rev. Mater. 6, 114405