Chemistry/Physics: European Research Council PhD Scholarship at Swansea University

  • Phd
  • Full cost of UK/EU tuition fees, plus a stipend
  • 15 December 2020

Chemistry / Physics: Fully Funded European Research Council PhD Scholarship: Controlling and Studying Rotational Quantum States of Molecules during Molecule-Surface Collisions

This scholarship is funded by Swansea University and the European Research Council (ERC).

The position is open until filled. Applications will be assessed on a rolling basis.

Project Supervisors:
  • Supervisor 1:¬†Professor Gil Alexandrowicz, Department of Chemistry
  • Supervisor 2:¬†Dr Helen Chadwick, Department of Chemistry
  • External Supervisors: Dr John Ellis, Department of Physics, Cambridge University and Dr Andrew Jardine, Department of Physics, Cambridge University

Start date: January 2021

Project description:
The surface dynamics group in Swansea University is home to a molecular beam apparatus, capable of controlling and measuring the rotational quantum states of a ground-state molecule as it collides with a surface. This is currently the only instrument world-wide which can perform such experiments, and the results supply unique insight into the interaction of a molecule with a solid surface. The technique has so far been successfully implemented for the case of hydrogen molecules. This PhD project, which is part of our 5-year ERC consolidator research project ‚Äúrotational waves‚ÄĚ, will be aimed at extending the quantum controlled collision experiments to heavier more complex molecules. One of the challenges will be sufficiently sensitive detection of these heavier molecules.

The Surface physics group in Cambridge, has been developing ultra-high-efficient particle detectors with sensitivities which are orders of magnitude better than commercial detectors. This technology is currently optimised for detecting helium atoms.

The student will design, perform and interpret new molecule-surface collision experiments performed using the setup in Swansea, while interacting closely with the Cambridge group to further develop their detector technology so it can be used with heavier molecules and integrated within the molecular beam line. As part of this collaborative approach, the student will be expected to travel to Cambridge for a few weeks a year (subject to Covid-19 travel restrictions). The combination of both methodologies is expected to enable a wide new range of experiments which are currently inaccessible.

The research activities are along the interface between physics and chemistry. Excellent applicants with degrees in either one of these disciplines are encouraged to apply.
Swansea University
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Swansea University

Swansea, is a coastal city and county, officially known as the City and County of Swansea in Wales.

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Candidates must have a first, upper second class honours or a Master’s degree with Merit, in Physics or Chemistry or closely related discipline.

For candidates whose first language is not English, we require IELTS 6.0 (with 5.5 in each component) or equivalent. Please visit our website for a list of acceptable English language tests. We prefer candidates to have already met the English Language requirements at the point of application, although this is not a requirement.

This scholarship is open to candidates of any nationality.


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This three-year scholarship covers the full cost of UK/EU tuition fees and an annual stipend of £20,000.


Please visit our website for more information.

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