University of Sussex - PhD Chemistry

EPSRC PhD in Chemistry: Confinement of Molecular Nanomagnets in Carbon Nanotubes (2022)

An EPSRC PhD studentship (42 months) is available from 1st October 2022, under the supervision of Prof. Richard Layfield, Chemistry, School of Life Sciences.

What you get

The PhD position is fully funded by EPSRC. Funding includes full UK or International tuition fees, a research training grant (£1,650 per annum) and a stipend at UKRI rates (currently £16,062pa) for 3.5 years. 

Type of award

Postgraduate Research

PhD project

Confinement of Molecular Nanomagnets in Carbon Nanotubes

In 2024, the data storage industry is expected to be valued at more than $100 billion. There is a
pressing need for innovative ways of storing more data whilst reducing the physical size of the storage
medium. Traditional technologies based on bulk magnetic materials are clearly reaching the end of
their life span. In contrast, molecules with magnetic memory properties – known as single-molecule
magnets (SMMs) – are a potential solution to the problem. The advantage offered by SMMs over
conventional ferromagnetic materials is their sub-nanometre size coupled with their quantum
behaviour. These properties could allow, respectively, more data storage bits to be stored per unit area
and the option to perform advanced functions, such as quantum algorithm operations.

Until recently, a drawback with SMMs is that most systems function at liquid-helium temperatures. The
Layfield group in Sussex Chemistry has made steps towards solving this problem with their recent
discovery of high-temperature SMMs, which show magnetic memory above liquid-nitrogen
temperatures. However, additional problems arise because these high-temperature SMMs are airsensitive
and unstable on metallic surfaces, making it hard to use them for read-write tasks.

In this PhD project, we propose to solve both remaining problems by incorporating SMMs into carbon
nanotubes through a collaboration with the Dalton group in Sussex Physics. Nano-structuring of SMMs
in this way will provide a physical barrier to the atmosphere, preserving their chemical stability and
allowing them to interact with electric currents via the conductivity of the nanotube. This should lead to
addressability and, hence, read-write capability. If successful, this project has potential to enable longterm


Candidates must have or expect to obtain a minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree. Your qualification should be in chemistry or a related subject area. You may also be considered for the position if you have other professional qualifications or experience of equivalent standing.

Candidates for whom English is not their first language will require an IELTS (or equivalent) score of 6.5 overall, with not less than 6.0 in any section. 

Please check our Admissions page for further information: Chemistry PhD : University of Sussex


10 June 2022 23:45

How to apply

Please submit a formal application via, and upload the following supporting documents:

  • Personal Statement (no research proposal required),
  • CV,
  • BSc/MSc degree transcripts AND certificates,
  • Two references on academic letterhead
  • English language proficiency documentation if required.

On the application system select Programme of Study – PhD Chemistry, and September 2022 entry date. Please ensure you state 'EPSRC DTP 2022' in the funding section and state the supervisor’s name when prompted.

Contact us

For enquiries about the application process, contact Emma Chorley:

For enquiries about the project, contact Richard Layfield:


At level(s):
PG (research)

Application deadline:
10 June 2022 23:45 (GMT)
the deadline has now expired


The award is available to people from these specific countries: