Phd Studentship: Large Volume 3D Imaging of Defects in Energy Production Materials at The University of Manchester

Department of Materials, University of Manchester

This award is a collaborative PhD/EngD project between the University of Manchester, National Physical Laboratory and Jacobs. The award offers an attractive and competitive studentship with additional industrial contribution that covers home fees, stipend at EPSRC rates (plus industrial contribution from Jacobs) and funding (plus industrial contribution from Jacobs) that will cover travel between the three partner institutions, consumables and equipment access.

Supervisors: Dr. Ali Gholinia and Prof. PJ Withers

Project Title: Large volume 3D imaging of defects in energy production materials

Project Description:

This exciting EngD/PhD project in 3D microscopy of advanced materials is in collaboration between, the Faculty or Science and Engineering, University of Manchester (, the National Physical Laboratory (, the UK’s National Measurement Institute, and our industrial partner Jacobs ( Starting in October 2022, the successful candidate is expected to spend significant amounts of time at all the three institutions, gaining unique access to facilities and equipment relevant to the project and receiving support and training from experts in different fields. They will gain access to professional development opportunities, training and support offered at NPL through the Postgraduate Institute for Measurement Science (PGI), while on industrial placement at Jacobs.

The strength and failure mode of advanced materials critical to a net zero carbon economy are often governed by their 3D structures, including current issues of materials degradation of high performance novel alloys in the nuclear industry. Before the necessary digital twins of the 3D structures can be developed for modeling and the assessment of component lifetimes in safety critical roles a number of issues need to be addressed. Firstly, for correlative microscopy approaches, reliable 3D data sets produced from a series of 2D sections are required with quantified uncertainties. Secondly, there is also an issue of scale where currently the small size of samples that can be analyzed limits their usefulness. In this project we expect to use fs-lasers to extend the volumes 100 folds compared to BIB and P-FIB techniques. These techniques will be developed to apply to materials used in industry for power generation, in particular materials in extreme environments in next generation nuclear power being developed by the industrial partner, Jacobs. Example applications include corrosion of Zr nuclear fuel cladding material, SCC and fatigue in Ni and steel structural materials and novel microstructures in AM components.

At the University of Manchester, we pride ourselves on our commitment to fairness, inclusion and respect in everything we do. We welcome applications from people of all backgrounds and identities and encourage you to bring your whole self to work and study. We will ensure that your application is given full consideration without regard to your race, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, nationality, disability, age, marital or pregnancy status, or socioeconomic background. All PhD places will be awarded on the basis of merit.

Applicants must have at least a BSc with a minimum of 2.1 or equivalent, in Material Science or Physics.

How To Apply

To be considered for this project you MUST submit a formal online application form

How to apply – Department of Materials – The University of Manchester

For further information, please contact


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