Project code



School of Mathematics and Physics

Start dates

October, February and April

Closing date

Applications accepted all year round

Applications are invited for a self-funded 3-year PhD. 

The PhD will be based in the Faculty of Technology, and will be supervised by Dr Melvin M. Vopson and Prof. Mark Gaterell.

The work on this project will involve:

  • Plasma sputtering of thin film multiferroic composites
  • Materials characterization (magnetic, polar / dielectric, thermal properties)
  • Instrument development

One of the global scientific and technological challenges of today is the development of more efficient heating and cooling methods for domestic and industrial applications.

The successful candidate will aim to develop novel materials suitable for solid-state cooling and heating, offering an elegant and energy efficient technology that utilizes the entropy changes associated with an order parameter in solids (electric, magnetic or elastic) to produce a temperature change of the solid element. 

This is based on the Giant multicaloric effect in multiferroic materials, which is a major breakthrough in solid-state caloric technologies, because it offers a unique approach by combining the principles of electrocaloric, magnetocaloric and elastocaloric effects into a unified process with enhanced caloric properties. 

This project will focus on the design, synthesis and experimental evaluation of composite multiferroic thin films suitable for multicaloric effects. A key aspect of this research programme is the exploration of how this type of technology can be applied to domestic heating and cooling to provide efficient, low cost, low carbon cooling and /or heating, as part of a collaborative project with UCL.  

Fees and funding

Funding availability: Self-funded PhD students only. 

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK and EU students only).

2022/2023 fees (applicable for October 2022, February and April 2023 start) 

PhD and MPhil

UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students 

  • Full-time: £4,596 (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,298 (may be subject to annual increase)

EU students
(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time: £4,596 (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,298 (may be subject to annual increase)

International students

  • Full-time: £18,300 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £9,150 per year (may be subject to annual increase)

All fees are subject to annual increase. If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2022/23 please visit this page.

Bench fees

Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.

Entry requirements

You'll need an upper second class honours degree from an internationally recognised university or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject (Physics, Applied Physics, Engineering). In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications.  English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

We’re looking for an enthusiastic and self-motivated candidate with a suitable honours degree (or equivalent) in Physics, Materials Science or a related Engineering subject. You should have a rigorous approach to research together with disciplined work habits. Good team-working, observational and communication skills are essential. Training on specialised equipment and instruments will be provided within the project. 

We’d encourage you to contact Dr. Melvin Vopson ( to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code SMAP4580220. 

When you're ready to apply, you can use our online application form. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV.  An extended statement as to how you might address the proposal would be welcomed.

Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process.

Please note, to be considered for this self-funded PhD opportunity you must quote project code SMAP4580220 when applying.

October start

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February start

Apply now