Full member

Deadline for application: 16 November 2015

Job reference: 15/104194

Major duties:

  1. Perform on material/structural characterisation of ferroelectric films grown via Far-From-Equilibrium pulsed thermal processing (PTP) routes with the goal to fully understand the processing-structure-property relationships in such thin films and nanostructures via correlating the defect landscape to functional response. The project will involve liaising closely with our project partners in the University College, Dublin (RoI) and Georgia Institute of Technology (USA).
  2. Structural and microstructural evaluation of defect type and location detection in PTP grown ferroelectric thin films and nanostructures using electron microscopy techniques (SEM, TEM/STEM & FIB). In addition, apply other characterisation techniques such as XRD and scanning probe microscopy (piezoresponse force microscopy in particular) as neccesary to optimise the processing parameters. Evaluation of volatile species, defect densities, grain size and domain structures will need to be performed to understand the microstructure and its subsequent correlation with functional properties.
  3. Carry out sample preparation by conventional mechanical polishing and/or FIB.
  4. Modelling of diffraction and TEM/STEM data to fully evaluate defect types and location.
  5. Develop insight into the correlation of analysed defect landscape with observed electromechanical response. This will need the candidate to develop understanding of processing techniques as well as micro- and macro-scopic functional response of the films.
  6. Preparation and presentation of results in video conferencing with project partners and at national/international conferences and workshops as required.
  7. Contribute to writing of manuscripts for dissemination to scientific audience and of reports as necessary.
  8. Candidate will also be expected to help significantly and collaborate on other related projects relevant to exciting physical phenomena in ferroelectric materials driven by domains, domain walls and defects.
  9. Identify further funding opportunities to consolidate the group's research and prepare outline proposals.
  10. Assist with project-related outreach activities as required.


Planning and Organising:

  1. Ability to undertake day-to-day responsibility in running dedicated laboratory facilities, including own day-to day activity within framework of the agreed research programme.
  2. Plan the use and scheduling of research resources, laboratories and workshops where appropriate with particular emphasis on forward planning ability in relation to technical support.
  3. Plan detail of research programme, particularly in relation to exchange of samples/data/analysis with project partners.
  4. Ability to plan and organise in order to meet reporting/dissemination deadlines.
  5. Explore novel scientific directions and contribute to follow-up proposal writing.


Resource Management Responsibilities:

  1. Make good use of research input time in lab., particularly in relation to direction of PhD and MSci projects to further the ends of the project.
  2. Manage consumables budget within project, including regular interaction with/briefing of QUB project leader.


Internal and External Relationships:

  1. Interact/travel on regular basis with partner labs and build good working relationships to facilitate success towards project deliverables.
  2. Plan scientific details of research programme under PI supervision and in collaboration with all project partners. Such planning will be necessary to ensure that the expertise of all partners will be used in the overall analysis of the results and correlation of the findings in order to identify, optimize, and exploit the structure-property-processing relationships.
  3. Assist with supervision of and liaise with PhD students and MSci project students in lab as required.
  4. Establish good working relationship with technical and other support staff.


Essential Criteria:

  1. Hold or about to obtain a relevant PhD (Thesis should be submitted at time of application.)
  2. Experience in electron microscopy techniques (Transmission Electron Microscopy) for materials characterisation such as Diffraction and Imaging.
  3. Competence in materials characterization techniques relevant to ferroelectric materials.
  4. Strong publication and presentation record, commensurate with stage of career, illustrating relevant research experience.
  5. Ability to develop scientific collaborations with scientific partners.
  6. Ability to make good oral presentations and prepare scientific manuscripts aimed at relevant world-leading journals.
  7. Quick on the uptake; good intellectual ability demonstrated on relevant subjects.
  8. Ability to devise inventive or creative solutions to problems.
  9. Ability and willingness to collaborate in related projects and other interesting ferroelectrics related Projects.


Desirable criteria:

  1. PhD thesis topic relevant to characterisation of ferroelectric materials using electron microscopy techniques and analysis of relevant domain patterns associated with structural defects.
  2. Experience in TEM Imaging techniques: HRTEM, Z-contrast, DF and BF applied to exploring physical phenomena in ferroelectrics.
  3. Experience in sample preparation.
  4. Experience in Spectroscopy techniques: EDX & EELS.
  5. Experience with modeling softwares: JEMS, Crystal Maker, Materials Studio, QSTEM.
  6. Experience in exploring domain/domain wall related physical phenomena in Ferroelectric materials.
  7. Experience in analysis of structural defects and associated domain patterns in ferroelectrics.
  8. Publication record illustrating experience of exploring physical phenomena in ferroics using Transmission electron microscopy and other microscopy techniques.
  9. Experience in Scanning Probe Microscopy and Piezo response force microscopy for study of ferroelectric domain and domain walls.
  10. Experience in ferroelectric thin films processing.
  11. Ability to interact with related scientific community on a good intellectual level.
  12. Ability to write/help with research proposals.

More information


Dr Amit Kumar
028 9097 3364
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