PhD project: Using Nitrogen for Novel Rocket Propellant and Superhard Materials

Project description

Nitrogen is a remarkable element, capable of producing exceptionally strong bonds and able to store and release the highest amount of chemical energy out of any element. Nitrogen compounds are thus top contenders for synthesising high energy density materials and superhard materials. A major hurdle in exploiting the incredible potential of nitrogen is its inertness at ambient conditions, preventing the formation of novel compounds. We have recently demonstrated that, under high-pressure conditions, nitrogen readily reacts with other elements and forms solids with unique and exotic physicochemical properties. We now plan to target the most promising combination of elements to synthesise technologically-relevant nitrides.

This exciting multidisciplinary PhD project will involve the compression of matter to extremely high pressures and temperatures using laser-heated diamond anvil cells. Experiments will be carried out at the Centre for Science at Extreme Conditions (CSEC) and at particle accelerators worldwide (APS, USA; ESRF, France; PETRA III, Germany; DIAMOND, UK). The PhD student will work in an international research team alongside collaborators in France, Germany and Sweden. 

For further information contact Dominique Laniel 

dominique.laniel [at]

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