At ambient conditions, the group I elements (Li, Na, K, Rb Cs) are regarded as "simple metals" whose single valence electrons have only a weak interaction with the atomic core. Under pressure, however, the density of these metals can be increased many-fold, and the same "simple" metals are found to undergo transitions to very structural complex forms, which calculations suggest may be semi-metallic, or even semi-conducting. In this project, you will use nano-fabrication techniques to make "sculptured" diamond anvils, which will be used to compress alkali metals in a diamond anvil cell (DAC) to extreme pressures above 500 GPa. The structural behaviour will be determined using x-ray diffraction at synchrotron radiation sources such as Diamond, the ESRF. or Petra-III. This project will also utilise the European X-ray Free Electron Laser (XFEL.Eu) to make pioneering structural studies at P-T conditions previously unobtainable in a DAC - opening wholly new regions of P-T space to experimental study for the first time.
The studentship for this project is supplemented by a CASE or an iCASE award, which offers an enhanced stipend, additional travel money for attending conferences and experiemnts, and a consumables budget.
- Professor Malcolm McMahon (School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Edinburgh)
The project supervisor welcomes informal enquiries about this project.
Find out more about this research area
The links below summarise our research in the area(s) relevant to this project:
- Find out more about Extreme Conditions.
- Find out more about the Institute for Condensed Matter and Complex Systems.
- Find out how to apply for our PhD degrees.
- Find out about fees and funding and studentship opportunities.
- View and complete the application form (on the main University website).
- Find out how to contact us for more information.