Nanoscale and Microscale Research Centre



Molecular Imaging & Analysis

Doctoral Training Programme (DTP) 



The Molecular Imaging & Analysis (MI&A) doctoral training programme builds on the unique technical capabilities and international leadership of the University of Nottingham in this area. The MI&A DTP is set to develop a cohort of students with analytical science and materials characterisation skills underpinning a wide range of molecular science topics in Chemistry, Physics and Engineering. The new cohort of MI&A DTP students aligns with the Advanced Molecular Materials IRC, contributing to the Green Chemicals and Propulsion Futures Beacons of Excellence.

The functional properties of molecules and materials are determined at the atomic bonding level and expressed ultimately by their interactions with atoms and molecules of other components within a system, e.g. water, air, small molecules, macromolecules, cells or whole living organisms. Developing and harnessing an understanding of these fundamental processes taking place at the nanoscale is essential for a wide spectrum of applications, ranging from electronic devices, catalysts and sensors, quantum systems, along with materials for energy storage and conversion. In this context, there is a very high potential for this DTP in Molecular Imaging & Analysis to deliver cutting edge research aimed at solving urgent technological, economic and societal challenges facing humankind. Analytical science and materials characterisation skills to be developed by MI&A DTP students will underpin emerging technologies of significant value to UK plc and will address skills shortages which will be important for future proofing the UK's capability to compete on the global stage.


The DTP provides a structured programme of training (both practical and theoretical) for each cohort of students, aiming to cultivate a new generation of researchers proficient in all aspects of modern-day analytical and materials science, with particular focus on nanoscale materials.

Nanoscale and Microscale Research Centre (nmRC)

The cross-faculty nmRC acts as a training and research hub for MI&A DTP students and provides a unique training environment, with comprehensive technical and administrative support for the DTP cohort. The nmRC, launched in April 2016, houses a suite of state-of-the-art imaging and analysis instrumentation (total capital value >£15M) and allied expertise for nanoscale and microscale characterisation, supported by 14 highly qualified research and technical staff who provide training for PhD students, along with a Centre Manager and Centre Administrator. The Centre also offers a dedicated training area and flexible research space for collaborative projects. The nmRC laboratories are equipped with a unique suite of 20 major instrumnets, including 14 electron microscopes, offering a diverse range of capabilities, to facilitate the imaging and analytical investigation of a wide variety of materials.

International Collaboration

MI&A DTP students will contribute to development of international partnerships with overseas institutions. In particular, with Ulm University (Germany) internationally leading in materials imaging and analytical instrumentation, such as the SALVE aberration corrected transmission electron microscopy facility (unique in the world), the Institute of Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, and the Helmholtz-Institute Ulm. Yale University (USA) and McGill University (Canada) are leading in methods and materials to sustainable processes and systems, such as novel and impactful catalysts based upon finely distributed metals nanoparticles and organometallics, providing a significant opportunity to build new collaborations with physicists.

How to apply

Applications will close when these studentships have been allocated or by Friday 28 August 2020 so you should apply as soon as possible. For further information on how to apply, please follow this link

For more information, please contact the academic lead: Professor Andrei Khlobystov, School of Chemistry and Nanoscale and Microscale Research Centre. 

Supervisory Teams

The important feature of these DTP research projects is that each PhD student will be supervised by two academics bringing different aspects of molecular imaging and analysis (e.g. synthesis and characterisation, or microscopy and spectroscopy).

The Director of the MI&A DTP is Prof. Andrei Khlobystov, Professor of Chemical Nanoscience. The University of Nottingham academic leads are:

School of Chemistry:

Prof. Mike George, Professor of Chemistry

Prof. Neil Champness, Professor of Chemical Nanoscience

Prof. Pete Licence, Professor of Chemistry

Faculty of Engineering:

Prof. Paul Brown, Professor of Materials Characterisation

Prof. Melissa Mather, Professor of Biomedical Imaging

Dr. Amanda Wright, Associate Professor

School of Physics:

Prof. Peter Beton, Professor of Physics 

Dr. James O'Shea, Associate Professor

Prof. Amalia Patane, Professor of Physics



The projects will include the preparation, structural and functional analysis, and modelling of materials for a range of technologically important applications. The concept of joint supervision by two academics from different research areas will be at the core of all PhD projects. Some examples of potential, interdisciplinary projects formed with the MI&A DTP are given below:

Potential, Interdisciplinary Projects
 Supervisor 1               +  Supervisor 2                =  Impact
 2D materials, Graphene/BN, Nanodiamonds  Structural analysis, functional characterisation  Electronic devices, quantum sensors and detectors
 Electro- and photo-chemically active molecules and clusters Electron microscopy imaging and surface analysis  Catalysts, energy storage and conversion devices
 Optically and spin-active nanomaterials Electron and optical microscopy, EPR   Biomolecular sensing, cell imaging, data storage
 Smart molecular and supramolecular materials Time-resolved spectroscopy, Electrochemistry, in situ EM  Energy harvesting, molecular electronics 



Nanoscale and Microscale Research Centre

Cripps South building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 748 6340
email: nmrcenquiries@nottingham.ac.uk