• Posted on: 16th Dec 2020
  • Funding amount: Funding Available
  • Funding for: EU Students, UK Students
  • REF: 1873931
  • Closes: 28th February 2021
  • Hours: Full Time

Vacancy Information

Development of Perovskite X-ray Detectors

The UCL Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering is inviting applications for a studentship in the area of radiation detector development. The studentship is funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Nuclear Security Science Network (NuSec) and the UCL Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering.

This is a collaborative project between UCL Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, UCL Institute of Materials Discovery (IMD) and the University of Surrey Physics Department. Each organisation hosts internationally leading research groups covering a broad range of activities which provides a highly stimulating multidisciplinary environment for learning and scientific research.

The Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering at UCL holds an Athena Swan Bronze Award which recognises and celebrates good practice and commitment to advancing women’s careers in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) in higher education and research. The award reflects UCLs commitment to the advancement and promotion of diversity and equality.

Studentship Description

This project looks to exploit new developments in solid state materials that could provide a cost effective and reliable alternative to existing detectors in applications such as nuclear security, medical imaging and non-destructive testing. Semiconductor perovskite materials have grown in popularity due to their high efficiency for light conversion in solar energy technologies and can be produced easily and cheaply. In previous work we have made functional X-ray detectors using pressed perovskite powder. The aim of this project is to build on this work to increase detector size, consistency and robustness. This includes using novel manufacturing methods such as creating perovskite-loaded conductive filaments which can be used to 3D print devices. The project will concentrate on developing detectors with X-ray/gamma sensitivity, however adding neutron sensitivity will also be considered which could create exciting opportunities where mixed perovskites or layered detector structures could provide gamma-neutron co-detection.

The student will work with colleagues in the IMD and the University of Surrey to develop a robust method to produce the quantity of polycrystalline perovskite powder required for the project and will produce varying compositions. The student will use the facilities available at Surrey to characterise the band gap and other properties of these materials. Then, at UCL, the student will create functional radiation detectors which will be characterised for X-ray/gamma ray and neutron response under different conditions. The student will experiment with different configurations to determine if additional information can be obtained such as directionality or crude energy resolution.

The student will join the Radiation Physics Group and will be supervised by the Group Leader, Dr Robert Moss (primary), and Head of Department, Prof Andrew Nisbet (subsidiary).

Person Specification

Funding will be for 3.5 years, with a tax-free stipend of approximately 17,285 per year, UK/EU-level university fees and approximately 3,000 as a Training and Support Grant which can be used for consumables, conference attendance, etc. Applications are open to UK and EU students only subject to the UKRI Eligibility Criteria (see https://epsrc.ukri.org/skills/students/guidance-on-epsrc-studentships/eligibility/ for further information).

Applicants must have a clear interest in radiation detection and measurement; synthesis and characterisation of new materials; and device fabrication. The applicant would be expected to have the following essential skills: well-developed experimental skills and familiarity with working safely and cleanly in a laboratory; knowledge of radiation interactions in matter; sufficient level of mathematics and numerical skills with experience of computer programming for data processing (e.g. in Matlab or similar); creative and critical thinking; excellent writing and oral communication skills; self-management and good working habits; and capability to work independently and used to taking the initiative.

The following skills are not essential but would be desirable: basic electronics; writing software for hardware control (such as Arduino programming); 3D modelling and 3D printing; and Monte Carlo modelling.


Applicants must have, or expect to obtain, a UK first class or 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent international qualifications or experience) in an appropriate technical subject. The studentship would suit applicants with a background in physics, chemistry and engineering who are interested in developing cross-disciplinary skills.

Informal enquiries and applications should be sent directly to Dr Robert Moss (robert.moss@ucl.ac.uk) with the subject line Perovskite Detectors PhD application. Applications must include a Curriculum Vitae (CV) and a cover letter. The letter should set out your previous academic or other experience relevant to the proposed research; why you wish to undertake this research at UCL; your previous research or professional training and what further training you think you will need to complete a PhD; and what ethical issues you will need to consider in undertaking this research. In addition, two references should be named at the end of the statement. At least one reference must be from an academic referee who is in a position to comment on the standard of your academic work and suitability for postgraduate level study. Where appropriate, a second referee can provide comment on your professional experience.

The closing date for applications is 28 February 2021 and the successful candidate must be available to start on or before 27 September 2021 (UK students) OR 31 August 2021 (EU students).

Contact name

Dr Robert Moss

Contact details


UCL Taking Action for Equality

Closing Date

28 Feb 2021

Latest time for the submission of applications


Interview date


Studentship Start Date

27 September 2021

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