Vacancies – Join our team

Brunel University London


PhD studentship in Advanced Electron Microscopy of Aluminium and Magnesium Alloys

Applications from qualified and motivated individuals with a MSc/BSc/BEng background are invited for a PhD studentship in advanced electron microscopy of aluminium alloys available in BCAST at Brunel University London, jointly with SuperSTEM, the EPSRC National Facility for Aberration-Corrected Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy. The project is open to both UK/EU and Overseas students with the scholarship covering fees and maintenance at UK/EU rates.

The project aims to use the advanced microscopy facilities at SuperSTEM Daresbury ( to investigate the micro- and nano- structure of aluminium and magnesium alloys produced at Brunel University London.

BCAST is a speciality research institute focusing on solidification related research with an international reputation and which is the host of the national centre of excellence in liquid metal engineering (the EPSRC LiME Hub). Our research covers fundamental research, technological development and industrial applications in the field of solidification and solidification processing. BCAST is well equipped with state-of-the-art facilities for both solidification processing and materials characterisation. Understanding heterogeneous nucleation at atomic level is a strategic research direction of BCAST. See for more information.

SuperSTEM is the EPSRC National Facility for Aberration-Corrected Scanning Transmission Electron Microscopy ( It supports a wide variety of multi-disciplinary research by providing access to cutting-edge instrumentation, state-of-the-art data analysis as well as expertise and training in electron microscopy. The SuperSTEM academic consortium is led by the University of Leeds and joined by the Universities of Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and Oxford. The principal location of the facility is a purpose-built low-vibration laboratory on the STFC Daresbury Campus, with access when required to complementary instrumentation at the consortium or partner universities for specific applications. SuperSTEM has an established track record in the imaging and analysis of nanostructures using high angle annular dark field (HAADF) imaging and electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS). This has resulted in many high impact publications and contributed significantly to the Nobel Prize winning work at the University of Manchester.


The purpose of this studentship would be to conduct a fundamental study of the capabilities, limitations and potential application areas of aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) in the analysis of aluminium and magnesium alloys in particular the mechanisms of grain refinement. The student would be based in Brunel but conduct much of the advanced experimental measurements at SuperSTEM. An additional contribution to the studentship award will be made available towards travel/accommodation + subsistence to allow the prospective student to interact equally with both the Brunel and SuperSTEM groups. In particular, students will be regularly seconded to SuperSTEM during the project and trained in operation of the electron microscopes and data processing.

Eligibility and Applications:

Applicants should have an upper second or first class undergraduate honours degree or a Master's degree (or a recognised equivalent from an overseas university) in physics, metallurgy/materials science or another engineering or physical science subject. This position is fully funded and applicants from UK, EU and international citizens are welcome.

Informal enquiries should be directed to Professor Z. Fan (, Professor R. Brydson ( or Professor Q. Ramasse (

Applications should be addressed by e-mail to Mr Phil Everett ( and should include a CV and transcript(s) of university study with a covering letter specifying your interest in the area of research and the names and contact details of two referees.

The closing date for applications is: 4 March 2016.

PhD Students

BCAST is always interested in recruiting full-time PhD students. Please view our staff page for a list of current PhD students and their contact details at BCAST.

If you are a home or EU student, there are a number of studentships available at BCAST through EPSRC CASE studentships. EPSRC funding is available for all UK and EU-nationals, normally resident in the UK. The funding covers both tuition fees and bursary for the three year duration of the PhD. The bursary can be up to £14,000 pa (tax free). For all the funding opportunities for postgraduate training from EPSRC, please see the EPSRC website.

If you are a non-EU student, please contact us directly to discuss about possible funding opportunities and research proposals.

Informal enquiries can be made to Dr Brian McKay ( at all times.

Page last updated: Wednesday 03 February 2016