This is an exciting and rewarding PhD opportunity for a candidate looking to progress a career in nanoscience, engineering or metrology. Applications are invited to apply for a 4-year EPSRC iCase funded PhD studentship in the Surface Engineering and Precision Centre at the University of Cranfield in collaboration with and sponsored by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), the UK’s National Metrology Institute and Loxham Precision.

Length metrology is fundamental to all areas of advanced manufacturing. For nanotechnology, where the size of devices (e.g. semiconductor and quantum based) is shrinking, and performance in some cases, is exponentially dependent on nanoscale dimensions, the need for sub-nanometre length metrology is growing.

To meet this challenge, the lattice parameter of silicon has been formally adopted as the basis of a length scale for nanotechnology. One method for implementing this is x-ray interferometry; a ruler or positioning system stage for nanometrology with subatomic accuracy.

The aim of the project is to design and manufacture efficiently x-ray interferometers suitable for a range of dimensional nanometrology applications including ultra-precision positioning and characterisation of nanoscale displacement sensors that will support manufacturing of micro-electronics and quantum devices.

The manufacture of X-ray interferometers is very challenging requiring expertise in machining of brittle materials, high aspect ratio structures and minimisation of surface damage from the machining, all of which need to exploit recent advances in ultraprecision machining techniques.

Other aspects of the research include using finite element analysis to model and design and digitally twin high accuracy silicon flexure stages and sub nanometre scale length metrology.

At a glance

  • Application deadline15 Mar 2023
  • Award type(s)PhD
  • Start date01 Oct 2023
  • Duration of award4 years
  • EligibilityUK
  • Reference numberSATM344


Dr Giusca Claudiu

Entry requirements

The candidate will have a physics or engineering background.


To be eligible for this funding, applicants must the following criteria:

  • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have settled status, or
  • Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have indefinite leave to remain or enter.

About the sponsor

Sponsored by NPL and EPSRC, this studentship will provide a bursary of up to £17,668 p.a. (tax free) plus fees* for four years.

Cranfield Doctoral Network

Research students at Cranfield benefit from being part of a dynamic, focused and professional study environment and all become valued members of the Cranfield Doctoral Network. This network brings together both research students and staff, providing a platform for our researchers to share ideas and collaborate in a multi-disciplinary environment. It aims to encourage an effective and vibrant research culture, founded upon the diversity of activities and knowledge. A tailored programme of seminars and events, alongside our Doctoral Researchers Core Development programme (transferable skills training), provide those studying a research degree with a wealth of social and networking opportunities.

How to apply

If you are eligible to apply for this research studentship please complete the online application form.

For further information please contact Dr Claudiu Giusca