We have available a three year EPSRC funded PhD studentship in
experimental condensed matter physics in the Physics of Quantum
Materials group at the University of Kent supervised by Dr. Emma Pugh.
The position is open to Home and Overseas (including EU) students.
Deadline: 22 January 2021, 12 noon GMT
Start date: September, 2021.
The studentship covers full tuition fees and an annual maintenance
grant of £15,285 for 2020/21 (2021/22 rate to be announced) for three
years. The University of Kent will waive the tuition fee difference
between UK (home) and Overseas (including EU) students hence this is a
fully funded studentship for UK, EU and international students.
The study of the border of magnetism is of great interest due to the
possibility of unconventional superconductivity, non-Fermi liquid
behaviour and other exotic phenomena near quantum critical points. The
effects are both theoretically significant and of practical importance. A
number of materials will be studied using a variety of techniques such
as resistivity, ac-susceptibility and X-ray synchrotron and neutron
radiation methods at high pressures, low temperatures and high magnetic
fields in order to understand these ordered systems and to discover new
states not seen before. In addition the project will take advantage of
the developments enabled from the recent funding of an EPSRC New
Horizons grant which will create a new type of experimental probe for
magnetism in quantum matter.
See below for further details about the project.
- Applicants should have or expect to gain a good Honours degree
(First or 2i), preferably a MPhys, MSci or a Master’s degree at Merit or
Distinction or equivalent in a relevant subject.
- Open to Home and Overseas (including EU) students.
Applications must be submitted online via the University of Kent postgraduate applications portal:
The course page and link to apply for a Physics PhD is:
On the application form under Research Proposal state: “PhD in
Physics. Experimental Condensed Matter Physics – Magnetism,
Superconductivity and Novel Quantum Phenomena, Supervisor: Dr. Emma
Please note that you will be expected to provide personal details,
education and employment history and supporting documentation
(Curriculum Vitae, transcript of results, two academic references).
Interviews will be held for shortlisted applicants.
If you would like any further information or have any queries about this position please contact:
Dr. Emma Pugh (E.Pugh@kent.ac.uk)
Further Project Details:
One of the biggest challenges in the study of condensed matter is to
describe systems in which the electrons interact strongly. In some
materials in which the electrons have strong interactions new quantum
ordered states can be produced which cannot be explained by the
traditional low temperature theories of matter. The study of the border
of magnetism is of great interest due to the possibility of
unconventional superconductivity, non-Fermi liquid behaviour and other
exotic phenomena near quantum critical points (QCP). The effects are
both theoretically significant and of practical importance e.g. the
strongly enhanced magnetoresistive and magneto-caloric effects which can
be observed are relevant to magnetic recording and magnetic
refrigeration respectively. Spin-triplet superconductivity is a rare
phenomenon but is important to the topological quantum computer
programme. The nature of these states is intrinsically linked to the
nature of the electronic and magnetic structure, however, the
inter-relationship is not yet fully understood. Hence we need detailed
information of the evolution of the magnetism in such materials. We
propose a series of experiments in which the magnetisation is supressed
with hydrostatic pressure to a QCP in order to understand these ordered
systems and to discover new states not seen before
Material properties are strongly modified by high pressure. Pressure
pushes the atoms closer together and in so doing can alter not only the
crystal structure, but also change electronic and magnetic properties as
pressure alters the electron density and orbital overlap. We can employ
pressure “quantum tuning” in which the pressure applied to samples can
be used to cleanly and precisely “push” materials into new states of
matter which cannot be readily observed at ambient conditions, or can
subtly change properties.
We will use a number of techniques during the project. These could
include resistivity, ac-susceptibility and X-ray and neutron facilities.
Importantly the project will take advantage of the developments enabled
from the award of an EPSRC New Horizons grant to Dr. Pugh at the
University of Kent which will create a new type of experimental probe
for magnetism in quantum matter which will enable us to simultaneously
create and measure new quantum states. This work will be undertaken in
collaboration with the University of Cambridge.
The Physics of Quantum Materials Group:
The student will be a member of the Physics of Quantum Materials
group. This group consists of 7 academics and senior research fellows
and a large number of graduate and undergraduate research students. The
group applies experimental, theoretical, and computational expertise to
discover and understand novel properties of quantum materials that
enable future quantum technologies. Areas of interest include
unconventional superconductors, topological insulators, mesoscopic
devices, low-dimensional systems, frustrated magnets, quantum Hall
systems and optical lattices. The main in-house experimental facility is
a unique double-stage adiabatic demagnetisation refrigerator (dADR)
which enables low noise resistivity and magnetic susceptibility
measurements in conditions of high pressure, low-temperature and high
magnetic fields. This is complemented with access to shared in-house
facilities such as diffractometers and a SQUID reaching magnetic fields
of 7T, as well as free access to a local computer cluster. Members of
the group have also gained considerable competitive access to central
X-ray and neutron facilities (e.g. ISIS, Diamond, ESRF) for their
research. Our group provides a supportive environment for all its
members, from under-graduate researchers all the way to faculty. We
provide an environment where education, training and career development
opportunities abound and help is always at hand.
SEPnet (South East Physics Network):
The University of Kent is a member of SEPnet which is a group of nine
universities in the South East. It brings together the research
strengths of the nine universities that make up the SEPnet to create the
largest physics post-graduate research training programme in England,
with opportunities for research, professional development and industry
placements for their postgraduate research (PhD) students.
The responsibility for the funding offers published on this
website, including the funding description, lies entirely with the
publishing institutions. The application is handled uniquely by the
employer, who is also fully responsible for the recruitment and