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PhD studentship in: “Imaging and Analysis of Nanomaterials”


Location:  UK Other
Closing Date:  Wednesday 15 March 2023
Reference:  SCI2146

About the Project

Application deadline: Open until filled
Supervisor: Professor Andrei Khlobystov (

Institution: University of Nottingham
Start date: Oct 2023
Project description

We are offering a fully funded PhD scholarship in Chemistry for 3.5 years, covering tuition fees and stipend and open to UK home students.

Are you excited about nanotechnology and nanomaterials? Do you want to stretch your horizon beyond traditional areas of Chemistry? Are you ready to be trained on cutting-edge imaging and analysis instrumentation? 

If this sounds like you, then we want to hear from you.

Atoms and molecules are the building blocks of everything we see or touch, but it is still a challenge to see or touch the building blocks themselves in any meaningful way. In chemistry, the sheer astronomical size of Avogadro’s number reminds us that when we study molecules and their reactions, we deal with zillions of them at a time. Therefore, how do we know that molecules are here rather than there, or that react in one way rather than another? Indeed, even in an ideal case, a laboratory observation by ensemble-averaging analytical techniques, such as spectroscopy or diffraction, can only support rather than confirm a proposed atomistic structure or reaction mechanism. Therefore, many molecular structures and fundamental reactions may remain undiscovered.

In this PhD project, you will develop electron microscopy as a new analytical tool for chemistry that may revolutionise the way we study molecules and their reactions. Some of the greatest challenges of materials chemistry, such as structures of nanocrystalline covalent organic framework (COF) or metal organic framework (MOF) materials, as well as atomic dynamics and reactivity of metal nanoclusters supported on 2D materials (e.g. graphene, hexagonal boron nitride) will be addressed by the new methods. You will become part of the multidisciplinary project team and will build on over 20 years of expertise in atomic scale imaging and analysis of nanomaterials available in Prof. Andrei Khlobystov’s group (including their recent works on 3D analysis of COFssingle-molecule dynamics, and nanocluster catalysis imaged in real time). 

The School of Chemistry at the University of Nottingham is one of the largest chemistry research units in the UK offering excellent analytical equipment facilities to all researchers, including a suite of 13 NMRs up to 800 MHz, a wide range of MS and chromatography instrumentation, and single crystal and powder XRD facilities. The School’s research laboratories are located in a purpose-designed chemistry building, nearby interdisciplinary Nanoscale & Microscale Research Centre (nmRC). Access to electron microscopy instrumentation (including TEM recently upgraded with a single-electron detector camera, cryo-FIB-SEM, environmental SEM), surface analysis and sample preparation facilities will be available at the Nanoscale & Microscale Research Centre ( High-level training on relevant instrumentation will be provided by the nmRC team.

We believe that a diverse and supportive research community, bringing different perspectives to our work and allowing people to blossom is the best platform for cutting-edge research. We are looking for brilliant chemists who are excited to embrace our approach and can contribute to our efforts to enhance the scientific and cultural aspects of diverse members of the Khlobystov group and the wider School.

The ideal candidate will hold a degree in Chemistry, or related discipline, and have developed a strong interest in the field of nanotechnology and nanomaterials analysis. The start date for this project will be Oct 2023 (please see eligibility below). The studentship will be filled as soon as a suitable candidate has been found, hence candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Prospective applicants are encouraged to visit our research laboratories and can contact Professor Khlobystov ( for more details or enquires about the project. 

Entry requirements

The position is available only for UK Home Students. Applicants should have, or expected to achieve, a 1st class or 2:1 Honours degree in Chemistry, Natural Sciences, Chemical Engineering or a related subject. A MSc-4-year integrated Master’s, a BSc + MSc or a BSc with substantial research experience will be highly advantageous. 

Funding Notes

Fully funded studentship to commence in Oct 2023. UK students – tuition fees paid and full stipend, tax-free, for 3.5 years at the UKRI rate (currently £17,668 per annum).

How to apply

Please send a cover letter and CV to detailing your previous research experience and current research interests. 

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