Search icon

PhD studentship opportunity (Fully Funded)

PhD studentship in Quantitative characterization of surface and interface properties via correlated atomic force microscopy (AFM) measurements (Fully Funded)

Project overview:

As the free surfaces of two materials come in close proximity of each other, atoms in one material begin to experience the electronic environment of the other material. The result is often adhesive interaction. Adhesion is affected by surface chemistry, charge, roughness and wettability. Being able to control adhesion is critical for a wide range of industrial applications. However, the lack of correlation between nano to macro level information by advanced characterization techniques and industrial scale applications leads to uncontrolled adhesion. To solve this problem, quantitative characterization of surface and interface properties with multiple techniques at multiple length scales needs to be well understood and correlated by good modelling.

This PhD studentship:

This PhD studentship is funded by H2020-NMBP-Oyster project. The successful candidate is expected to develop procedures/protocols for establishing/calibrating/correlating nanoscale AFM measurements and mapping to macroscale surface energy, in view of establishing a metrology standard. In collaboration with the industrial partner(s), the candidate is expected to demonstrate multimodal AFM in quantitative probing of non-bio and/or bio-materials interface, establishing standard operation protocols. The successful candidate will be integrated into the well-funded MOSAIC group ( in the Bernal Institute at UL and be supervised by Dr. Ning Liu and Dr. Christophe Silien (Department of Physics, School of Natural Science) and co-supervised by Prof. Noel O'Dowd (School of Engineering), and have opportunities to learn from experienced researchers within the group with expertise in both multimodal scanning probe microscopies and numerical modelling.



•             Hold either an honours ((first or second class (2:1))  Masters degree in Physics or Engineering or an honours (first or second class (2:1)) bachelor degree in Physics, Engineering or relevant discipline.

•             Self-motivated with proven organisational skills to prioritise and deliver agreed objectives.

•             Demonstrated strong work ethic and with the ability of working both alone and with a team.

•             Be able to work independently, demonstrate initiative, being versatile and productive.

•             Excellent verbal and written communication skills.


•             Knowledge of software development including Java, Python, MATLAB or similar.

•             Knowledge of numerical modelling.

•             Knowledge of scanning probe microscopy.

•             Report and paper writing experience.


Dr. Ning Liu ( )

Department of Physics,and Bernal Institute

University of Limerick,