PhD Position in Operando XAS and Inelastic Neutron Scattering Studies of Conducting Thermoelectric MOFs
University of Southampton School of Chemistry
United Kingdom

PhD Studentship - Operando XAS and inelastic neutron scattering studies of conducting thermoelectric MOFs


Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:  Wednesday 31 August 2022
Reference:  1639921EB

Supervisory Team:       Dr Iris Nandhakumar, Dr Darren Bradshaw

Project description

Applications are invited for a prestigious PhD studentship to work on an exciting interdisciplinary project between the Schools of Chemistry and Diamond Light Source and ISIS. The project is funded for 3.5 years and welcomes applicants from the UK who have or expect to obtain at least an upper second class degree in either Chemistry, Materials Science, Physics or related discipline. The 3.5 year PhD programme will require successful applicants to split their time between the University of Southampton and Diamond Light Source on the Harwell Campus. 

The project will investigate the effects of molecular doping, composition and topology on multiple length scales in conducting Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) which is an exciting class of crystalline high surface-area microporous solids assembled from metal ions or clusters and polytopic organic ligands. Their modular nature allows framework composition, functionality and pore size to be optimised for wide-ranging applications including energy and sustainability. In particular we will investigate their application as thermoelectric materials which can directly convert thermal waste heat into useful electrical energy. We have recently succeeded in preparing conducting MOFs with unprecedented thermoelectric performance. Furthermore, a switch in conductivity from n-to p-type was observed. The exact mechanism of doping or identification of which species is exactly responsible for the observed doping is unknown. To unravel this mechanism we propose to use a combination of characterization techniques (XAS/XES and inelastic neutron scattering (INS)) that will allow us carry out detailed operando gas adsorption studies whilst simultaneously measuring the thermoelectric properties. 

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Iris Nandhakumar, Department of Chemistry, Email:, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 6877.

Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 August 2022 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Funding: For UK students, Tuition Fees and a stipend of £15,609 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years. 

 How To Apply

Applications should be made online. Select programme type (Research), 2022/23, Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, next page select “PhD  Chemistry (Full time)”. In Section 2 of the application form you should insert the name of the supervisor Iris Nandhakumar 

Applications should include: 

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts to date

Apply online:

For further information please contact: 

The School of Chemistry is committed to promoting equality, diversity inclusivity as demonstrated by our Athena SWAN award. We welcome all applicants regardless of their gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or age, and will give full consideration to applicants seeking flexible working patterns and those who have taken a career break. The University has a generous maternity policy, onsite childcare facilities, and offers a range of benefits to help ensure employees’ well-being and work-life balance. The University of Southampton is committed to sustainability and has been awarded the Platinum EcoAward.

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