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Postgraduate research project

Studying the vibrations and other properties of ‘caged’ molecules

Competition funded
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Type of degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Entry requirements
2:1 honours degree
(View full entry requirements)
Faculty graduate school
Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences
Closing date

About the project

You will study the fundamental molecular and solid-state properties of endofullerenes using a combination of techniques.

Endofullerenes consist of a ‘cage’ in the form of a fullerene (e.g. a bucky ball C60) containing an atom (Kr) or small molecule (NH3). The cage acts to isolate the molecule from its environment to allow us to study its properties without perturbations which shorten the lifetime of its excited states and reduce their quantum-like behaviour. In addition, the molecule alters the properties of the host. Thin films of fullerenes, particularly C60, show some extremely interesting properties such as superconductivity and the combination of superconductivity with isolated molecules should lead to exciting new physics.

We will study these materials using a combination of Raman scattering and femtosecond time-resolved spectroscopy. Raman scattering can determine the mechanical interactions between molecule and host. Femtosecond time-resolved spectroscopy will allow us to probe the transfer of energy between excited states of the molecules and thus their electronic interactions.

You will develop skills in:

  • high-resolution laser-based spectroscopies
  • cryogenics
  • the use of a superconducting magnet
  • Matlab and other programming languages for computer control of experiments and data analys
  • the fundamentals of solid-state and molecular physics

We have a fully equipped laboratory with all of the necessary equipment, including:

  • a 12T closed-cycle cryostat
  • tuneable laser sources covering the energy range 1-2 eV
  • a triple Raman spectrometer

Previous PhD students from our group have progressed into roles in academia, R&D, e.g. diamond electronics and graphene transistors, Raman scattering in biological systems, high-tech industries particularly defence and patent law. We aim to be a happy, inclusive and welcoming group.

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