University of Cambridge

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

Closing Date
WorkplaceCambridge, East of England, UK


Job Opportunities


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

Funding: Diamond/ISIS Pulsed Neutron Spallation Source/EPSRC Supervisors: Dr Thomas Bennett from University of Cambridge, Dr Simone Anzellini and Dr Christine Beavers from Diamond Light Source Ltd

This project will be run jointly between the University of Cambridge and Diamond Light Source, co-located between the two sites, with years 1 and 4 in Cambridge, and years 2 and 3 at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory site in Oxfordshire

Soft microporous materials known as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) consist of inorganic clusters or ions bridged by organic ligands in open three-dimensional arrays. This family, of over 70,000 compounds, is of great interest due to their potential for use in gas separation and storage, drug delivery, catalysis and sensing applications. We have recently produced the first two examples of high-pressure high-temperature phase diagrams, revealing liquid and glass phases of metal-organic frameworks by using powder X-ray diffraction and a resistively heated diamond anvil pressure cell at the Diamond Light Source. The glasses are a ’hybrid’ equivalent of silica glass and a fourth new family of glasses distinct from the known inorganic, metallic and organic glass families. Pair distribution function (PDF) techniques, which create atom-atom distance histograms of materials, have been demonstrated to be effective in the characterization of amorphous materials, and especially in creating atomistic configurations of MOF liquids and glasses.

In this project, you will develop high-pressure PDF capabilities on a variety of porous hybrid materials, and investigate the room temperature collapse of metal-organic framework materials to glassy states under hydrostatic pressure. This will be used to build a picture of the mechanical response of these highly promising materials, to deduce mechanisms of collapse, and to synthesize an array of hybrid glasses through application of pressure. We will then further develop instrumentation and analytical techniques to make it possible to collect PDF data at high-pressure and high-temperature simultaneously, which will allow exotic amorphous and liquid states to be structurally characterized.

This studentship provides an opportunity to develop new synchrotron and neutron facility capabilities and apply them to scientifically challenging research topics and and an environment in which to form research networks outside the immediate supervisory team. Two other studentships will run simultaneously with this one under the same arrangements.

Fixed-term: The funds for this post are available up to 4 years in the first instance.

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 meet the EPSRC criteria for UK/EU residency and liability for ’home rate’ fees. The on-line application system is available at . Further information on the application process is available from Rosie Ward ( remw2 [at] cam[.]ac[.]uk ).

Informal enquiries about this studentship can be made to Dr Tom Bennett, tdb35 [at] cam[.]ac[.]uk

Please quote reference LJ22458 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.


Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, West Cambridge






12 February 2020

Closing date

31 March 2020


In your application, please refer to and reference JobID 180705.

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