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We are  recruiting 6 PhD positions in Functional Nanomaterials for Start September 2018
The positions will focus on synthesis, assembly, characterisation and device application in Batteries, Thermoelectrics and Nano photonics.

The positions are funded by Science Foundation Ireland and the Irish Research Council.

Closing date for Applications May 30th 2018.
Email only the following as 1 PDF document (4 pages total) to nanoresearchul@gmail.com
Cover letter (1 page max) stating the position you are interested in and why you want to pursue a PhD by research in this area and CV (3 pages max) that includes your contact details including skype ID. Please do not send any additional materials such as transcripts or copies of papers these will be requested later.
Please include: ‘PhD Nanomaterials’ in subject line
Project start dates 1st Sept 2018.

• Hold either an honours (first or second class (2:1)) Masters degree in Chemistry, Material Science, Physics or an honours (first or second class (2:1)) bachelor degree in Chemistry, Material Science, Physics or relevant discipline.
• Self-motivated with proven organisational skills to prioritise and deliver agreed objectives.
• Demonstrated strong work ethic and with the ability of working both alone and with a team.
• Be able to work independently, demonstrate initiative, be versatile and productive.
• Excellent verbal and written communication skills.


• Previous project experience in nanomaterial synthesis.
• Previous project experience in device application of nanomaterials.
• Report and paper writing experience.

PhD 1: PhD studentship in Complex Multi-component Nanowire Synthesis by Solution Methods.
One of most successful synthetic methods for nanostructures is seeded (catalytic) growth of semiconductor nanowires from metal nanoparticle seeds. The goal of this project is to obtain a detailed understanding of how modulating the reactivity of various Si and Ge precursors can be used to lower nanowire growth temperatures in solution using a range of seeds from transition metals to main group metals of In, Bi and Sn. In these syntheses there is an interesting interplay between the formation of nanostructures that are silicides or germanides of the metal or the formation of single component wires. The ability to control this growth protocol will allow design of nanowires for functional applications in thermoelectrics and Batteries. The successful candidate will work in the Nanotechnology Research Group (www.nanoresearchul.org) and will have opportunities to learn from experienced researchers within the group with expertise in both chemical syntheses and advanced materials characterization using TEM, SEM, XRD, AFM etc.

PhD 2: PhD studentship in colloidal nanorod heterogeneous assembly for electrically pumped all-inorganic light emitting diodes (LEDs)
This PhD studentship is funded by Science Foundation Ireland. The successful candidate is expected to develop the fabrication procedures of nanocrystal based LEDs using heterogeneous assembly. In particular, the candidate is expected to develop methods to synthesize inorganic semiconductor quantum dots and nanorods, utilize and optimize the electric field assisted nanocrystal assembly method to form the multi-layered LED structures. The successful candidate will be integrated into two well-funded research groups in the Bernal Institute at UL – Nanotechnology Research Group (http://nanoresearchul.org/) and Nanophotonics & Nanoplasmonics Group (https://ulsites.ul.ie/physics/node/51101), and have opportunities to learn from experienced researchers within the groups with expertise in both chemical syntheses and optical characterizations.

PhD 3: PhD studentship in Ternary and Quaternary Colloidal Nanostructures containing group 14 elements
There has been an extensive body of work on the formation of ionic nanocrystals in solution (colloidal synthesis). These materials have found significant application in the fields of photovoltaics, displays and lasing. There has been considerable interest in the past few years regarding the replacement of Cd with Cu, with notable progression in capabilities to control size, shape and polytypism in these nanomaterials. This PhD project seeks to develop synthetic routes to tackle the formation of Cu2ZnGeS4 (CZGS) and Cu2ZnSnGeS4 (CZTGS) nanocrystals, compositions which have proven challenging to synthesize to-date due to the differences in the precursor reactivity. A range of different Cu, Zn, Ge, Sn and S precursors will be investigated to determine the optimal precursors and solvents/ligands that permit the stabilization of single phase CZGeS and CZTGeS nanocrystals. The successful candidate will work in the Nanotechnology Research Group (www.nanoresearchul.org) and will have opportunities to learn from experienced researchers within the groups with expertise in both chemical syntheses and advanced materials characterization using TEM, SEM, XRD, AFM etc.

PhD 4: PhD Studentship on formation of Silicon and Germanium Nanostructures on High Surface Area Anodes for Lithium ion Batteries

The exponential rise in smart phones, tablets and other portable electronics is completely reliant on rechargeable batteries of which lithium ion is the commercial battery with the highest energy density. Yet, this energy density, is in-sufficient requiring frequent recharging of devices or requiring a larger portion of the device as the battery which is infeasible from design considerations. The limitations of current lithium ion are more apparent when used for electric vehicles. Moving from graphite as the anode to Li-alloying materials such as silicon, germanium and tin can dramatically increase the energy density. However these materials can only withstand the volume changes of lithium cycling in nanostructured form. This project will investigate silicon, germanium and tin nanostructures as anodes in Lithium ion batteries. It will also investigate increasing the loading on the electrodes to maximise energy density by using porous or structured copper current collectors. The successful candidate will work in the Nanotechnology Research Group (www.nanoresearchul.org) and will have opportunities to learn from experienced researchers within the groups with expertise in both chemical syntheses lithium ion battery fabrication and testing.

PhD 5: MaREI funded PhD Studentship Increasing the penetration of Electric Vehicles by increasing the Energy Density of Lithium ion Batteries in Full Cell Configurations.

Lead Supervisor: Prof Kevin M Ryan Department of Chemical Sciences, UL, Co-Supervisor Dr Tadhg Kennedy UL15

Collaborators, AMBER, EIRGRID

Battery storage at the consumer level represents one of the most effective methods of storing renewable energy by large scale deployment of EV’s combined with smart grid technology and as such storage is a critical component of solving the energy challenge at fits within Challenge 3 (Renewable Energy) of the MaREI strategic plan. A key challenge with uptake of EV’s is the range in comparison to conventional vehicles. UL researchers have developed and patented advanced Li alloying anode materials that have multiples of the capacity of graphite and have the capability to extend the range of EVs by hundreds of Km when used with currently available cathodes. The objective of this PhD project is to develop cell configurations encompassing the UL developed lithium alloying (Silicon) anodes with LiNiCoAlO2 cathodes. The focus will be optimising the binder and electrolyte formulations for maximised performance and rate capability. The formation of batteries in a number of cell formats will be targeted due to better cycle life, slower degradation, and flexibility in battery design for EVs. The project will encompass long cycle life testing in addition to rate capability analysis for accelerated life testing. The full cell development will specifically address the anode pre-lithiation challenge to deploy this technology at a demonstrator level. The PhD project will involve cross centre interaction between MaREI and AMBER research centres through supervisor Prof K M Ryan who is a co-applicant on both. The student will receive training on advanced characterisation techniques in materials through AMBER and apply novel materials for battery applications and testing through MaREI. The PhD student will enrol in the Structured PhD programme at the University of Limerick that adheres to the National Framework in Doctoral training  and will work with supervisors on an Individualised Training and Development Plan. This will require  attendance at PhD level modules for a minimum of 20 Credits on ‘Nanomaterials synthesis’, ‘Nanomaterials characterisation’, and  ‘Advanced electrochemistry’ and will have opportunity to participate in further advanced training modules given at TCD through AMBER and at UCC through MaREI. In addition they will have a core component of transferrable skills modules (10 credits minimum) including, ‘Writing science and engineering’, Entrepreneurship’ and ‘Effective Project Planning’. As part of their induction onto the PhD programme, students are required to complete ‘Health and Safety training’ offered by the Department of Chemical Sciences and Bernal Institute and attend seminars on Research Integrity and Ethics given by the Graduate School. The supervisors as part of the induction will provide additional training on good Laboratory practise with specific training on key equipment and use of same in the laboratories. The technology transfer office at the University of Limerick provides courses in Intellectual property management for PhD students and this will form part of the core offering. Opportunities for industry placement on a relevant project towards the goal of the PhD topic will be sought in year 3. Over the course of the PhD, publication and presentation at National and International symposia will be sought and outputs are expected in terms of publications, patents and conference presentations. In addition, it is expected that the PhD student will take part in four  Education and Public Engagement activities in each year of the award.  The PhD project will be managed by weekly meetings between the PhD and project supervisors in addition to biweekly group meetings where there is an opportunity to present work for discussion.

PhD 6: PhD Studentship in Electric field controlled assembly of functional Nanostructures
Design of Functional nanomaterials in ordered arrangements can lead to innovative properties that go way beyond the capabilities of conventional materials. For example a chequerboard arrangement of nanostructures of two different types can deliver properties that are not possible with these materials on their own or in a non-ordered arrangement and will open the door to major innovations in photonics, batteries, photovoltaics and thermoelectrics. The PhD project will involve synthesis of nanostructures and the use of electric fields to control their assembly on substrates from solution. The project will involve investigation of assembly under DC and AC field conditions. The complex nanostructured assemblies on substrates will be investigated in photovoltaic, thermoelectric and photonic applications. The successful candidate will work in the Nanotechnology Research Group (www.nanoresearchul.org) and will have opportunities to learn from experienced researchers within the group with expertise in both chemical syntheses and electric field assembly techniques.