POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
(LAYER-BY-LAYER PLD GROWTH AND CHARACTERISATION OF
THIN FILM OXIDE MATERIALS)
Job Ref: R-568943
Department: Chemistry Location: University Campus
Salary: £30,870 pa Grade: 7
Hours of work: Full-Time Tenure: 2 years
Closing Date: 7 June 2011 Interview Date: To be confirmed
Informal enquiries to Professor M J Rosseinsky on 0151 794 3499, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Job Ref: R-568943
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Job Ref: R-568943
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The position will focus on the layer-by-layer growth by RHEED-monitored pulsed laser deposition of new
oxides assembled by the growth of individual structural components to make new artificial materials (“Unit-
cell-level assembly of metastable transition-metal oxides by pulsed-laser deposition”, L. Yan, M. J.
Rosseinsky et al., Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2007, 46, 4539, “Cation ordering within the
perovskite block of a six-layer Ruddlesden-Popper oxide from layer-by-layer growth - artificial interfaces in
complex unit cells”, L. Yan, G. Van Tendeloo, M. J. Rosseinsky et al., Chemical Science, 2011, 2, 261 “A-
Site Order Control in Mixed Conductor NdBaCo2O5+delta Films through Manipulation of Growth Kinetics”, C.
Grygiel, S. R. C. McMitchell, M. J. Rosseinsky et al., Chemistry of Materials, 2010, 22, 1955.) These new
artificial materials are selected to have multiferroic and mixed ionic/electrical conducting properties, and you
will develop and perform measurements to evaluate these properties. This growth activity is integrated into a
large materials discovery effort with crystal chemistry, diffraction, TEM and measurement expertise, including
collaborations with leading international groups.
The candidate will come from a thin film oxide materials background. Expertise in epitaxial oxide film growth
using pulsed laser deposition, RHEED and layer-by-layer growth and the application of diffraction methods,
including reflectivity and four-circle diffraction, to the characterisation of thin films, is essential. A PhD in
physics, chemistry or materials science and an excellent publication record is essential. Experience of
electrical and magnetic measurements on thin films is desirable.
The laboratory is equipped with two PLD chambers (supplied by Neocera and PVD). The Neocera system
allows in situ growth monitoring by differentially pumped RHEED, while the PVD system is used for
combinatorial multi-target growth. Both chambers are supplied by a KrF excimer laser. An extensive range of
thin film characterisation techniques are available in the laboratory: two dedicated four circle X-ray
diffractometers, an Agilent large scale AFM capable of Scanning Microwave Microscopy, Piezo Force
Microscopy, Current Sensing Microscopy, Kelvin Force Microscopy and various other AFM modes, high
resolution TEM for cross sectional imaging, SQUID, an Agilent impedance analyser, a Radient ferroelectric
tester and SEM equipped with EDX for compositional analysis. Central facilities are routinely used for XPS
analysis. A wide range of high quality single crystal substrates are available for deposition, including SrTiO 3,
MgO, LaAlO3, DyScO3, GdScO3, Y stabilised ZrO2 etc. Ceramic PLD targets of complex oxides are made in
house using the group’s considerable solid state synthesis facilities, including ball mills, high temperature
furnaces and an isostatic press. In addition the thin film group works closely with theoreticians who predict
the stability of potential synthetic targets and model the effects of epitaxial strain on the magnetic and electric
properties of materials. The wealth of facilities makes this role an excellent opportunity to perform world class
research in materials science.
The role forms part of a large European Research Council funded project addressing the discovery of new
functional oxide materials.
A grand challenge in science is the controlled assembly of atoms and molecules into novel forms as the
basis for new physical phenomena and next-generation technologies. This programme will focus on
excellence in synthesis of advanced inorganic functional materials through the development of
fundamental capabilities for control of structure and composition in crystalline materials with large unit cells
that are resilient to the introduction of multiple functionality. The targeted synthesis of these materials is
addressed by developing a “smart intuition” approach in which detailed chemical appreciation of the
structure-composition-property relationships is focused by predictive computation. The task is structured as a
computation and growth-led Theme 1, where nanodeposition tools and tightly controlled sub-structure
selection focus the computational task, and a synthesis- and measurement lead Theme 2 where
compositional and structural features controlling complex properties are identified to initially define target
materials selection. Theme 1 initially addresses the assembly of modular thin film and bulk materials to
permit the required methodology development. Theme 2 will identify a toolkit of chemical components by
synthesis and measurement (encompassing both average and local structure and dynamics) that will then be
analysed predictively by computation to identify specific compositions for synthesis. The developed capability
will integrate computation as a focused tool in the synthesis of complex materials, rather than devising an
approach capable of surveying all possible compositions. It will permit the isolation of specific structures
within a focused space of components, identified by structure-property-composition analysis in bulk materials
Job Ref: R-568943
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(specifically those where structural frustration is imposed by competing interactions between multiple
sublattices) or by selection of modules for unit cell by unit cell assembly of thin films.
The specific tasks revolve around developing the new materials reported in bulk form as ionic conductors
(“Interstitial oxide ion conductivity in the layered tetrahedral network melilite structure”, X. Kuang, M. A.
Green, H. Niu, P. Zajdel, C. Dickinson, J. B. Claridge, L. Jantsky, M. J. Rosseinsky Nature Materials, (2008)
7, 498-503), candidate multiferroics (“A polar oxide with a large magnetisation synthesised at ambient
pressure” H. Hughes, M. M. B. Allix, C. A. Bridges, J. B. Claridge, X. Kuang, H. Niu, S. Taylor, W. Song, M.
J. Rosseinsky Journal of the American Chemical Society (2005), 127, 13790-13791) and SOFC electrode
materials (“Modular construction of oxide structures – compositional control of transition metal coordination
environments” C. Tenailleau, M. Allix, J. B. Claridge, M. Hervieu, M. F. Thomas, J. P. Hirst and M. J.
Rosseinsky Journal of the American Chemical Society (2008) 130, 7570-7583) and in thin film form as
metastable systems deposited by layer-by-layer growth techniques (“Unit-cell-level assembly of metastable
transition-metal oxides by pulsed-laser deposition”, L. Yan, H.J. Niu, C.A. Bridges, J. Hadermann, G. Van
Tendeloo, P.R. Chalker, M.J. Rosseinsky, Angewandte Chemie International Edition (2007), 46, 4539-4542).
This will involve developing theoretical approaches to predict the stability of structures formed by assembling
identifiable sub-units either as bulk materials or on surfaces by layer-by-layer methods. The structures of
these materials will be probed by bulk diffraction methods but also by local structure pair distribution function
techniques and, in the case of the ionically conducting systems, by lattice dynamical probes to identify how
the structure and composition imposes the vibrational features required for the high ionic mobilities.
The project will be directed by three academic staff at the University and involve collaboration with several
international laboratory and the use of central neutron and synchrotron X-ray facilities across the world.
Professor Matt Rosseinsky is an expert on the synthesis and characterisation of new inorganic materials (e.g.
Science, (2002), 295, 1882-1884; Applied Physics Letters, 90, 112909, 2007; Nature Materials, (2008), 7,
367; Science (2007) 315, 977 – 980; Angewandte Chemie-International Edition (2007), 46, 8785-8788) and
was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2008. Dr John Claridge is an expert in inorganic materials
structural characterisation (see J. Am. Chem. Soc. Papers above) including higher dimensional
crystallography and in property evaluation and synthesis. Dr George Darling is a solid state theoretical
physicist with expertise in DFT and other computational approaches to solid state structure and properties
(e.g. Physical Review Letters 101 134604 2008).
Occasionally you may be required to work off-site at international facilities and to work flexibly to make
maximum use of the available instrument time.
The Occupational Pension Scheme associated with this appointment is the Universities Superannuation
Scheme (USS). Under the provisions of this scheme a member of staff currently contributes at a rate of 6.35%
of his or her pensionable salary and the University such sum as may be required to maintain the full benefit of
Full particulars of the scheme can be obtained, on request, from the Director of Human Resources.
An acceptance of this appointment will be taken as an application to join USS and have the appropriate
contributions deducted from salary unless the Director of Human Resources is expressly notified in writing either
before commencing employment, within three months of that date or on expiry of three months notice, that the
appointee intends to make his or her own pension arrangements.
Should the appointee decide to make his or her own personal pension arrangements, the University will not
contribute to the personal arrangement. No other form of supplementation of pension benefits will be available
from the University.
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It may be possible for a newly appointed member of staff who has not been in USS to have his or her accrued
benefits from his or her former pension scheme transferred to the USS. In such a case, USS will be asked to
investigate a transfer payment and will provide, on actuarial advice, a proposal for a number of years' credit in
USS which such payment would secure. The member of staff is at liberty either to accept this or elect to deal
with his or her accrued benefits as determined by the rules of his or her former scheme.
Job Ref: R-568943
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EMPLOYEE SPECIFICATION – Shortlisting Criteria
Post Title: Postdoctoral Research Associate Salary: £30,870 pa
Department: Chemistry Job Ref: R-568943
Attributes No. Essential Criteria Desirable Criteria
(Identified from – Application form/CV/Supporting (Identified from – Application form/CV/Supporting
1. EXPERIENCE 1.1 Epitaxial deposition of oxide thin films Pulsed Laser Deposition experience
1.2 Structural, electronic and magnetic characterisation of Monitoring of layer-by-layer deposition by RHEED
thin films monitoring
1.3 Electron microscopy of thin films
2. EDUCATION 2.1 PhD in Chemistry, Materials Science or Physics
3. SKILLS, GENERAL 3.1 Maintenance of vacuum systems Analysis of X-ray diffraction data from thin films
AND SPECIAL 3.2 Operation of vacuum deposition systems Collection and analysis of magnetic and electrical data
KNOWLEDGE from thin films
4. PERSONAL 4.1 Able to work as a member of a team
ATTRIBUTES AND 4.2 Able to organise own workload
CIRCUMSTANCES 4.3 Excellent presentation and writing skills
4.4 Excellent publication record
4.5 Clear report writing
4.6 Able to take responsibility for projects
Job Ref: R-568943
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