University of Cambridge

Job Opportunities


Fully-Funded (Home/EU Rate) PhD Studentship (Fixed Term)

PhD Studentship: Nanionic Energy Devices

Supervisor: Professor Judith Driscoll Sponsor: EPSRC and Cambridge Display Technology (CDT) Start date: October 2020

Applications are invited for a PhD studentship fully funded for a student paying 'home rate' fees, and will run for up to 3.5 years from October 2020. It will be based in the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy at the University of Cambridge and will be run in close collaboration with Cambridge Display Technology (CDT)*.

The first grand challenge in the Government's 2017 industrial strategy white paper is, 'put the UK at the forefront of the artificial intelligence and data revolution'. NVM technologies are key to advances in cognitive computing, boosting the development of artificial intelligence. The second grand challenge relates to adoption of energy efficient materials, e.g. batteries, photocatalysts. These systems have in common electrochemical processes.

Controlling and understanding the ionic motion at the nanoscale is critical for performance optimization of the aforementioned energy devices. However, so far, there has been little nanoscale probing undertaken of these processes. There is a real opportunity to advance these widely varying energy technologies by studying model thin film single-crystal-like systems, utilizing new characterization tools to probe model systems of different dimensionalities. Hence, ideal nanoscale films and interfaces will give us an unprecedented opportunity to understand surface vs. bulk processes, and to learn about the influences of strain and defect processes.

Designed nanostructured systems: We will create single crystal thin films and multilayers using advanced pulsed laser deposition. We will use in-situ XPS to probe chemical and electronic states. We will work with many groups within Cambridge to probe ionic and electronic processes using a combinations of tools in collaboration with Physics, Chemistry, Engineering in Cambridge and teams abroad (e.g. nanoplasmonics, interferometric scattering microscopy, electrochemical AFM, in-operando TEM and NMR).

Potential Big Wins: The ability to design and fabricate industrial memristors for memory and AI, which are easy to grow, stable over trillions of cycles, controlled on-off states which can be trained, to fulfil a $Trillion market. Creating highly stable, high performance solid state batteries. Systems with high rate catalytic processes.

Applicants should have (or expect to be awarded) an upper second or first class UK honours degree at the level of MSci, MEng (or overseas equivalents) and should be should meet the EPSRC criteria for UK/EU residency and liability for 'home rate' fees.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available for 3.5 years in the first instance.

The on-line application system is available at

Further information on the application process is available from Rosie Ward (

Please quote reference LJ22061 on your application and in any correspondence about this vacancy.

The University actively supports equality, diversity and inclusion and encourages applications from all sections of society.

The University has a responsibility to ensure that all employees are eligible to live and work in the UK.