University of Cambridge

Applications are invited for a fully-funded PhD studentship to work on Anisotropic nanostructured materials based on graphene and 2D materials for thermal management and heat dissipation in next generation electronic circuits, specifically in flexible and wearable electronics.

Description: Electronics is ubiquitous in our everyday life. Faster and smaller electronic devices require the miniaturisation of several electronic components distributed on chips with ever-growing capacity. The heat
generated by electronic devices increases exponentially with the density of electronics on the same chip, limiting the performances of miniaturized integrated circuits. Anisotropic thermally conductive materials able to dissipate heat in one or two in-plane spatial directions while barring the conductivity on the out-of-plane direction are ideal materials to dissipate heat effectively, without affecting the surrounding devices. The current materials employed for thermal dissipation suffer from intrinsic physical limitations. Along with graphene a whole new family of two-dimensional (2D) materials has recently emerged with extraordinary electrical, thermal, optical and mechanical properties. Some of these materials (e.g. graphene or hexagonal Boron Nitride, h-BN) have shown excellent thermal conductivity with orders of magnitude improvement and have the ideal set of properties to pave the way to a next generation thermally conductive materials.

This project aims to engineer new polymer composites embedding graphene and/or hybrid two-dimensional materials (such as h-BN) with a high concentration and explore their use as highly electrically, thermally conductive pastes and composites for integrated electronic circuits. Electrical, thermal conductivity will be characterised and viscoelastic properties of the polymer composites and pastes will be investigated and tailored for deposition techniques such as extrusion, and 3D printing. The 2D-materials based inks with thermal and electrical properties will also be used to engineer anisotropic inkjet printed multi-layer devices with conducting, semiconducting and insulating properties for printed transistors, thermoelectric generators and capacitors.

Given the growing interest in wearable electronics and smart textiles, the integration of these 2D materials with fabrics, fibres and yarns will be explored. The ultimate goal is to achieve a new family of electrically insulating and thermally conducting pastes and polymer composites with highly anisotropic properties that can be deposited by the most modern deposition technologies, including
3D printing.

The project will involve a strong collaboration with the industrial partner Cambridge Nanosystems Ltd. The student will be fully incorporated into the Cambridge Graphene Centre offering unique opportunity to interact with teams of researchers working with graphene, 2D materials and hybrids nanostructures
as well as the industrial partners embedded in the Centre.

Applicants need to have, or expect to achieve, a first-class or a high 2:1 degree in Engineering, Physics, Chemical Engineering, Nanotechnology or Material Science. Applicants from the UK are eligible for a full award, full University and College fees and a maintenance allowance. Applicants from the EU are also eligible for a fees only award.

Overseas / Non-EU applicants are not eligible to apply for funding from the Graphene Technology CDT, but can still join the programme if recipient of external scholarships covering the full costs.

Information on student eligibility can be found on EPSRC website (

Cambridge, UK