PhD position available in Combined modulation excitation neutron and X-ray methods to understand catalytic systems at Harwell Campus

Project Description
A longstanding challenge in liquid phase chemical science, is understanding the evolution of atomic and molecular structure of catalytically active sites during chemical reaction processes. To date, traditional experimental probes of liquid structure, such as neutron scattering and X-ray absorption spectroscopy, have largely been limited in their ability to answer many of the associated scientific questions. This is due to the difficulty in obtaining information from the relatively small number of reactive molecules in the active site regions.

An exciting development in experimental methods has thus been the realization that the integration of modulation excitation techniques and phase sensitive detection, with scattering and spectroscopic probes, can enhance the probe sensitivity to the extent required to directly address the aforementioned scientific challenge. This project aims to realize this novel experimental approach on the X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy instrumentation (I20-EDE) at Diamond Light Source, and the Neutron Total Scattering instrumentation (NIMROD) at the ISIS Neutron and Muon Facility. The ultimate aim of this project is to gain new insight into the detailed mechanisms of a series of exemplar chemical reactions.

This project is a multipartner collaborative initiative between Diamond Light Source (Dr Sofia Diaz Moreno), the ISIS Neutron and Muon Facility (Dr Daniel Bowron), and the University of Manchester (Prof. Christopher Hardacre). The post is primarily based at the Harwell Campus, but with occasional trips to Manchester being expected when driven by project needs. Ideally, the successful applicant will also have interests covering the full spectrum of experimental work, data analysis and computational systems modelling that the project requires.

Applicants should have or expect to achieve at least a 2.1 honours degree in Chemistry, Physics, Materials, Chemical Engineering or related disciplines

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