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The University of Southampton

PhD Studentship: “High Throughput Discovery and Optimisation of Heterogeneous Catalysts”

Published: 29 June 2011

(available to UK/EU nationals only) Prof. Brian E. Hayden, Chemistry, University of Southampton, UK

We are seeking an academically excellent, bright, motivated individual to join the Hayden “Surface Science and Materials Discovery Group” as a PhD student. There is a growing need for alternative and sustainable energy generation, and solar energy is potentially an abundant source. The direct splitting of water by sunlight to yield hydrogen is an attractive possibility, but requires stable, active catalysts with the correct band structure.
High Throughput Physical Vapour Deposition1 (HT-PVD) has been successfully applied to the synthesis of model electrocatalyst materials, optimising alloy composition2, particle size3 and support.4 These methods have been successfully transferred to the commercial development of new fuel cell catalysts, including platinum lean and non platinum systems.5 The synthetic method is also ideal for the study of metal oxide phases.6 The screening methodology has been developed in order to assess the activity and stability of the model catalysts quickly, and is particularly effective when combined with bespoke informatics methods of data handling and analysis.

This project involves the development of the thin film combinatorial method to synthesise and characterise new materials for photo-catalysis and water splitting. The successful applicant will join a team of PhD and postdoctoral scientists working in the area of high throughput materials discovery, and state of the art synthetic, screening and characterization facilities will be available for the project.7 Multi-component metal oxide materials will be investigated, and their activity and stability for photo-catalysis determined and related to both electronic and crystal structure, and morphology.

For informal enquiries related to this project contact Prof. Brian Hayden by email (

For application details contact Mrs Chun Borodzicz, Postgraduate Admissions Administrator, at

1. Samuel Guerin, Brian E.Hayden ; J. Combinatorial Chemistry 8 (2006) 66-73
2. Samuel Guerin, Brian E. Hayden, Christopher E. Lee, Claire Mormiche, Andrea E. Russell; J. Phys. Chem. B 110 (2006) 14355-14362.
3. Samuel Guerin, Brian E. Hayden, Derek Pletcher, Michael E. Rendall, Jens-Peter Suchsland and Laura J. Williams;. Combinatorial Chemistry 8 (2006) 791-798
4. Brian E. Hayden, Derek Pletcher and Jens-Peter Suchsland; Angewandte Chemie International Edition 46 (2007) 3530-3532
6. Mehdi Mirsaneh, Brian E. Hayden, Shu Miao, Jan Pokorny, Steve Perini, Eugene Furman, Michael T. Lanagan, Rick Ubic and Ian M. Reaney; Acta Materialia 59 (2011) 2201–220.

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