Starting October 2012
Supervisor: Dr Keith McKenna
A funded 42-month PhD studentship in condensed matter theory is available in the Department of Physics at the University of York starting in October 2012. The project will focus on modelling the properties of ultrathin polycrystalline metal-oxide films with particular relevance to nanoelectronic devices, such as transistors, memristors and magnetic tunnel junctions. The aim is to obtain an atomic scale understanding of how complex defects such as grain boundaries and dislocations affect the electronic properties of ultrathin oxide films. Ultimately this knowledge will be used, in close collaboration with industrial collaborators, to help design more powerful, reliable and efficient devices.
While existing computational methods, such as density functional theory, can be used to address some of these problems, development of new approaches will also be required. The Department of Physics provides an ideal environment for this type of research, with a number of groups focussed on developing and applying computational quantum mechanical methods for materials simulation. This research will also be supported by significant high performance computing resources, including access to the UK’s national supercomputer HECToR.
The successful candidate will work closely with industrial and experimental collaborators based in the UK, US and Japan, both to validate the theoretical models and help guide the design of better performing materials for nanoelectronic device applications. Therefore, the project has both applied and fundamental aspects, and the balance can be aligned with the strengths and interests of the student. Further details on the area of this research can be found on Dr McKenna's webpages.
Potential candidates must have a Masters degree in Physics or a related discipline and a strong interest in computer simulations. Experience with Linux, programming, and computational physics and chemistry software are also highly desirable. Knowledge of electronic structure methods and molecular dynamics simulation would also be advantageous. We encourage informal enquiries about the project which can be made to Dr Keith McKenna on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Funding: This 42 month studentship pays fees at the home student rate only and a stipend for living costs at the research council minimum rate (for 2011/2 this was £13,590).
You can apply online. Applications will continue to be considered until a suitable candidate can be found.