The PhD project will be located in Grenoble (France) at the ILL, and at the University of Reading (UK), , and supervised jointly by Dr. Ann M Chippindale, in collaboration with Dr. Simon J. Hibble (Univ. of Oxford), and Dr. Mohamed Zbiri (ILL, Grenoble).
The Department of Chemistry at the University of Reading (UK) and the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL, Grenoble, France), jointly invite applications for a PhD programme focusing on: “Structure, Dynamics and Order in Transition-Metal Cyanides”.
Transition-metal cyanides often exhibit remarkable and unusual responses to external stimuli in that they can show negative thermal expansion (NTE) and negative compressibility on application of heat and pressure, respectively. The tailoring of thermal expansion properties has potential technological applications in, for example, the production of zero-expansion composite materials, and, when combined with certain optical properties, can be used in pressure-sensing devices. The curious thermal expansion properties of metal cyanides are by no means the only reason for studying these materials. A number of transition-metal cyanides exhibit interesting photophysical properties, e.g. vapochromism.
Understanding the behaviour of these materials requires structure determination and analysis of their dynamical properties. Neutron scattering, both elastic and inelastic (INS), is an excellent method of probe which has previously played a key part in exploring structures and dynamics of these cyanide materials, and continues to play a central role in their study. Ab initio calculations are synergistically used for analysis and interpretation of the the neutron data, as well as serving as a prediction tool in some cases.
The aim of this project is to investigate the underlying mechanisms and microscopic origins of the thermal expansion, compressibility and ordering characteristics of new metal cyanides, exhibiting 1-D, 2-D and 3-D structural characteristics. Establishing the relationship between structure and dynamics is vital for tailoring properties such as NTE. Neutron scattering studies (INS and diffraction), supported by ab initio atomistic calculations, will play a key role in this investigation.
This project offers a framework for performing: (i) synthesis of new metal cyanides with 1-, 2- and 3-D frameworks possessing novel properties, (ii) structural and vibrational characterization using X-ray diffraction, and IR and Raman spectroscopies, (iii) neutron scattering measurements to probe the structure and dynamics, and, (iv) ab-initio calculations to accompany the physical measurements.
The successful candidate will be employed for a period of up to 3.5 year.When at Reading, a standard UK stipend will be paid (current rate is £1,143 per month). When at the ILL, a gross salary of around 2350 €/month, together with other benefits depending on the student’s social status (for more details see: http://www.ill.eu/science-technology/phd-students/phdrecruitment/phd-work-at-the-ill/).
Applicants should have a degree in a relevant discipline such as chemistry, physics, or materials science. Academic knowledge of condensed matter physics and/or some prior use of numerical simulations would be appreciated.
Uni. Reading: Dr. Ann M Chippindale and ILL: Dr. Mohamed Zbiri
The PhD candidate is expected to be appointed by beginning of 2016.