[Neutron] PhD position: “Structure, Dynamics and Order in Transition-Metal Cyanides”

Mohamed ZBIRI zbiri at ill.fr
Tue Nov 10 22:57:11 CET 2015

Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL, Grenoble, France) and University of Reading

The PhD project will be located in Grenoble (France) at the ILL, and at
the University of Reading (UK), , and supervised jointly by Dr. Ann M
Chippindale, in collaboration with Dr. Simon J. Hibble (Univ. of
Oxford), and Dr. Mohamed Zbiri (ILL, Grenoble). 

The Department of Chemistry at the University of Reading (UK) and the
Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL, Grenoble, France), jointly invite
applications for a PhD programme focusing on: "Structure, Dynamics and
Order in Transition-Metal Cyanides". 

Job description:
Transition-metal cyanides often exhibit remarkable and unusual responses
to external stimuli in that they can show negative thermal expansion
(NTE) and negative compressibility on application of heat and pressure,
respectively. The tailoring of thermal expansion properties has
potential technological applications in, for example, the production of
zero-expansion composite materials, and, when combined with certain
optical properties, can be used in pressure-sensing devices. The curious
thermal expansion properties of metal cyanides are by no means the only
reason for studying these materials. A number of transition-metal
cyanides exhibit interesting photophysical properties, e.g.
Understanding the behaviour of these materials requires structure
determination and analysis of their dynamical properties. Neutron
scattering, both elastic and inelastic (INS), is an excellent method of
probe which has previously played a key part in exploring structures and
dynamics of these cyanide materials, and continues to play a central
role in their study. Ab initio calculations are synergistically used for
analysis and interpretation of the the neutron data, as well as serving
as a prediction tool in some cases.
The aim of this project is to investigate the underlying mechanisms and
microscopic origins of the thermal expansion, compressibility and
ordering characteristics of new metal cyanides, exhibiting 1-D, 2-D and
3-D structural characteristics. Establishing the relationship between
structure and dynamics is vital for tailoring properties such as NTE.
Neutron scattering studies (INS and diffraction), supported by ab initio
atomistic calculations, will play a key role in this investigation. 
This project offers a framework for performing: (i) synthesis of new
metal cyanides with 1-, 2- and 3-D frameworks possessing novel
properties, (ii) structural and vibrational characterization using X-ray
diffraction, and IR and Raman spectroscopies, (iii) neutron scattering
measurements to probe the structure and dynamics, and, (iv) ab-initio
calculations to accompany the physical measurements.
The successful candidate will be employed for a period of up to 3.5
year.When at Reading, a standard UK stipend will be paid (current rate
is £1,143 per month). When at the ILL, a gross salary of around 2350
EUR/month, together with other benefits depending on the student's
social status (for more details see:

Requested Profile:
Applicants should have a degree in a relevant discipline such as
chemistry, physics, or materials science. Academic knowledge of
condensed matter physics and/or some prior use of numerical simulations
would be appreciated.


ILL: Dr. Mohamed Zbiri (zbiri at ill.fr), and, Uni. Reading: Dr. Ann M
Chippindale (a.m.chippindale at rdg.ac.uk) 

How to Apply:
Applications with CV, certificates for the degrees, reference letters,
list of publications and other scientific works shall be e-mailed to:
zbiri at ill.fr, and, a.m.chippindale at rdg.ac.uk 

The PhD candidate is expected to be appointed by beginning of 2016. 

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