Doctoral student in a lab

Photonic conversion of sol-gel precursors into inorganic thin films

  • School: School of Science and Technology
  • Starting: 2019
  • Funding: UK student / EU student (non-UK) / International student (non-EU) / Fully-funded


The School of Science and Technology at Nottingham Trent University offers a fully funded 3-year PhD studentship suitable for an experimental physicist, material scientist or engineer. You will work in the iSMART facility (Innovations in Surfaces, Materials And Related Technologies) where you will gain expertise in leading-edge, thin-film technology and laser processing, as well as experience in translating fundamental research into practical applications.

The aim of this research project is to investigate the potential of laser annealing as an alternative to thermal annealing for the conversion of metalorganic precursors into inorganic thin-films of high quality, for use in thin-film transistors (TFTs) and other thin film applications. Our proprietary laser annealing technique has proven to be highly fruitful in inducing a photo-thermal chemical conversion for the fabrication of active layers in TFTs1. Laser annealing offers a highly localised thermal treatment, achieving high temperatures for ultra-short periods of time, and is compatible with large area processing (via surface scanning). Solution processing is recognised as the most important enabler for large area electronics that will be cost efficient and will deliver the Internet of Things (IoT). However, current solution processing methods introduce several limitations that must be overcome, like substrate cost, processing thermal budget, complexity and duration of processing. The approach proposed in this project, namely laser annealing, delivers ultra-fast, highly localised high temperature processing combined with patterning in one single processing step1.

Nottingham Trent University is renowned for leading edge research, strong links with industry and its excellent teaching that shape lives and society. The School’s leading-edge research was recognised by the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2015, as well as the ‘THE’ University Of The Year award for 2017. NTU was named Modern University of the Year in the 2018 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, which placed NTU in position 37 (its highest ever position), following a climb of 10 places since last year. Finally NTU is in 16th place in the Guardian University Guide 2019. The University is making multi-million pound investments in both buildings and equipment at the Clifton campus, an award-winning “green” campus, where you will be based. You will join a growing and vibrant research group, within the world-leading Imaging, Materials, Engineering and Computational (iMEC) Research Centre. The group benefits from significant international and national collaborators and excellent quality resources (expertise and equipment). You will be part of the wider postgraduate community within the School, with opportunities for multidisciplinary collaboration with experts in Chemistry, Engineering, Physics and Nanotechnology.

1 S.Dellis, I.Isakov, N.Kalfagiannis, K.Tetzner, T.D.Anthopoulos, D.C.Koutsogeorgis, J.Mater.Chem.C 5, 3673 (2017).


Assoc Prof. Demosthenes Koutsogeorgis

Dr. Nikolaos Kalfagiannis

Prof. John Wallis

Entry qualifications

Entrants must have a first/undergraduate Honours degree, with an Upper Second Class or a First Class grade, in Physics, Material Science, Nanotechnology, Electrical Electronic Engineering, or a relevant subject.

Entrants with a Lower Second Class grade at first degree must also have a postgraduate Masters Degree at Merit.

How to apply

How to apply

The deadline for applications is 12 pm (UK time) 02 November 2018.

Download an application form here.
Please make sure you take a look at our application guidance notes before making your application.

Further information on how to apply can be found on this page.

Fees and funding

The studentship will pay UK/EU tuition fees. It will also provide a maintenance stipend of approximately £14,777 per year for three years (the stipend is linked to the RCUK rate, starting in 2018).

Applications from non-EU students are welcome, but a successful candidate would be responsible for paying the difference between non-EU and UK/EU fees. Fees for 2017/18 are £13,250 for non-EU students and £4,260 for UK/EU students.

Guidance and support

Further guidance and support on how to apply can be found on this page.

Still need help?

Demosthenes Koutsogeorgis