UK: 4 DPhil Studentships in Physical & Theoretical Chemistry at University of Oxford

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Prof. Richard G. Compton

Physical & Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory

University of Oxford

South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3QZ, UK

Phone: 0044 (0)1865 275 413


Ref: ERC/RGC/14

Description: Applications are invited for up to 4 DPhil studentships in Physical & Theoretical Chemistry, to work under the supervision of Professor Richard G Compton. These studentships are part of a European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant concerned with fundamental and applied aspects of the electrochemistry of single nanoparticles.

The ERC project is focussed on experiments which will utilise a revolutionary technique, partly developed by the Group, for the stochastic study of nanoparticle behaviour. The results of these experiments will likely have significant implications from both an industrial and fundamental standpoint. In these experiments nanoparticles (for example of Ag, Cu, Ni, Au, indigo, Fe3O4) in solution impact a microelectrode held under potentiostatic control by virtue of their Brownian motion. If the applied potential is sufficiently oxidising or reducing then the impact can lead to current transients of ca millisecond duration in which the charge passed indicates the number of atoms/molecules in the nanoparticles since the oxidation/reduction is quantitative even for particles as large as ca 100nm (see Angewandte Chemie, 50, (2011), 4219-4221 and 52, (2013), in press). Experiments of this type allow the measurement of the size and size distributions of nanoparticles, their state of aggregation in solution, and their concentrations with independent validation for example against Nanoparticle Tracking Analysis (NTA).

In related experiments the impacting nanoparticle acts as a nano-sized electrode for the duration of the impact thus mediating electron transfer to solution phase species. Analysis of the corresponding current time transients allow the measurement of ultra-fast kinetics for example of electron transfer or coupled chemical reaction (Nano Today, 7, (2012), 174-179).

Three of the studentships will be primarily experimentally based whilst the fourth will be predominantly theoretical/computational. The latter position will involve computer programming; prior programming skills are not necessarily a prerequisite.

Eligibility: Applicants should have, or expect, a first class honours degree, or equivalent, in Chemistry or a relevant related discipline (Physics, Chemical Engineering, Materials Science,  Mathematics, …). The studentship will cover the full cost (at home/EU rates) of a DPhil course for 3 years. The positions are available from 1st October 2014.

To Apply: Candidates should apply via email to , quoting: ERC/RGC/14. Please submit a full CV and a supporting statement plus arrange for three academic referees to submit their letters of support by the closing date.

If you applied for these studentships in the previous round, you don’t need to submit another application.

For enquires relating to the application process please contact:

Aga Borkowska, Graduate Studies Administrator:
+44 (0) 1865 272569

For informal enquiries: please contact Prof. Richard G Compton: .

For a summary of the Group’s current research interests please see: .

The Compton Group welcomes applications from suitably qualified individuals regardless of gender, disability, ethnicity or sexual orientation.  The present diversity of the Group is apparent from the website above.

Closing date: 28st February 2014.

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