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HetSys PhD Projects 2019

Name Description
A Game of Order Parameters Supervisors: Dr David Quigley (Physics) and Dr Gabriele Sosso (Chemistry). Predicting if, how and when ice crystals will form in clouds (and our own cells!) is important to atmospheric science (and cryopreservation!) and manufacture of pharmaceuticals.
Accelerating Theoretical Spectroscopy through Machine-learning Supervisor: Dr Nicholas Hine (Physics) Theoretical approaches to predicting and interpreting advanced spectroscopy techniques for investigating energy and charge transfer processes at the nanoscale will be modelled and accelerated with machine-learning tools.
Advanced Boundary Conditions to Enable Quantification of Uncertainty in Atomistic Simulation of Defects Supervisors: Dr James Kermode (Engineering) and Prof. Christoph Ortner (Mathematics). Accurate models for energy barriers involved in material defect evolution are essential to understand many processes in high performance alloys, for example thermal evolution of radiation damage in nuclear reactor shields.
Atomistically Informed Fatigue Crack Growth Models Supervisor: Dr James Kermode (Engineering) and Tyler London (TWI, Cambridge). The demanding conditions experienced by welded structures create significant challenges for design and assessment. Due to their reliance on empirical criteria, existing fracture mechanics assessment codes and standards are insufficient.
Atomistically-informed continuum interface models for functional composites Supervisor: Dr Lukasz Figiel (WMG) Functional composites are material candidates for high-energy density applications. Their overall energy density can be enhanced by tailoring constituent dielectric properties, breakdown strength, and interfacial polarisation.
Automatic Prediction and Characterisation of Complex Chemical Reactions Supervisors: Dr Scott Habershon (Chemistry) Around 90% of all chemical processes use catalysis to control reactivity and selectivity, yet the design of new catalysts too often depends on informed trial-and-error to make progress.
Continuum Models and Inverse Problems Supervisor: Prof. Florian Theil (Mathematics) Estimating coefficients of continuum models from data is called an inverse problem.
Coupling fluid and kinetic codes for laser-driven inertial fusion energy simulations Supervisors: Prof. Tony Arber, Dr Keith Bennet and Dr Tom Goffrey (Department of Physics) Coupling kinetic solutions of laser-plasma interactions to large-scale fluid simulations will help optimise experiments aimed at achieving thermonuclear fusion driven by lasers
Electronic and thermoelectric transport in highly heterogeneous nanometerials and devices Supervisor: Dr Phytos Neophytou Two thirds of all energy we use is lost into heat during conversion processes, a loss which puts enormous pressure on the plant, the use of fossil fuels, and energy sustainability.
Fluctuating Hydrodynamics for Liquid Spreading over Heterogeneous Surfaces Supervisors: Dr James Sprittles (Mathematics) and Prof. Duncan Lockerby (Engineering) Understanding the spreading of liquids over heterogeneous solid surfaces is the key to numerous emerging technologies (e.g. 3D ‘metaljet’ printing) and biological systems (retention of rain by leaves).
Mathematical Foundations Potential supervisors include (non-exhaustive list): Andreas Dedner, Tobias Grafke, Thomas Hudson, Christoph Ortner, James Sprittles, Bjorn Stinner, Florian Theil, Charlie Elliot, Sebastian Vollmer.
Modelling the Barrier and Elastic Properties of Skin Supervisor: Dr Rebecca Notman (Chemistry). The top layer of skin, the stratum corneum (SC), is a complex, heterogeneous material. It is only 10-40 microns thick yet it acts as a highly impermeable barrier that protects the body from water loss, substances in the environment and infection.
Physics of magnets and the arrangements of atoms comprising them Supervisor: Prof Julie Staunton (Physics) Permanent magnets are widespread - key components in motors and generators, transducers, imaging systems etc. Their fundamental materials physics is also fascinating and challenging.
Quantum dynamical simulation of tunnelling and electronic friction: what controls hydrogen chemistry on metals? Supervisors: Dr Reinhard Maurer and Dr Scott Habershon (Chemistry). Development and application of molecular simulation methods to study quantum nuclear and electron-nuclear coupling effects in atomic and molecular hydrogen diffusion and reaction at metal surfaces.
Uncertainty Assessment of Solute Mixing in Heterogenous Porous Media Supervisor: Mohad M. Nezhad (Engineering). The transport of chemical substances in the subsurface is relevant in many different applications.
Uncertainty quantification of long-timescale evolution in precipitation-strengthened alloys Supervisors: Dr Peter Brommer (School of Engineering) Study the ageing process in precipitation-hardened alloys using kinetic Monte Carlo based on atomic interaction models fitted to electronic structure calculations.