Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Post-Doctoral Research Associate in Focussed Ion Beam (FIB)/Electron Microscopy

Applications are invited for a post-doctoral research associate (PDRA) position within the mineral magnetism group of the Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge. The position is funded by the ERC grant “Nanopaleomagnetism: a new multiscale approach to paleomagnetic analysis of geological materials”, a brief description of which is given below. Funding is available for 3 years in the first instance. Successful applicants will hold a PhD on taking up the post.

The PDRA project will focus on the application of a dual-beam focussed ion beam (FIB) workstation to perform 3D slice-and-view tomography of natural samples. The person appointed will use facilities located in the Department of Materials Science to study the positions, sizes, shapes, compositions and crystallographic orientations of magnetic particles embedded in silicate hosts using a combination of slice-and-view tomography, electron backscattered diffraction (EBSD) and energy dispersive X-ray analysis (EDX). We seek candidates with a strong background in electron microscopy and specific experience with using FIB techniques. Experience with EDX, EBSD and tomography would be an advantage. It is not necessary to have a background in either Earth sciences or magnetism, and we invite suitably experienced candidates from any area of the physical sciences. The successful candidate will have a track record of publication in peer-reviewed journals, will have good communication skills and have demonstrated the capacity to perform independent research.

Interested candidates should contact Dr. Richard Harrison (rjh40@esc.cam.ac.uk) for more information about the project and formal application procedures. 

General description of the ERC project:

Adopting cutting-edge techniques from physics and materials science, Nanopaleomagnetism aims to perform paleomagnetic measurements at submicron length scales, enabling primary magnetic signals to be extracted from ancient and severely altered geological materials. 3D measurements of the volume, shape and spacing of all magnetic particles within a microscale region of interest will be made using a ‘dual beam’ focussed ion beam workstation. Combined with high-resolution paleomagnetic measurements and nanometre/nanosecond electron/X-ray magnetic imaging, nanopaleomagnetism will, for the very first time, be able to characterise the magnetic properties of geological materials at fundamental length scales and time scales. The nanoscale measurements will enable us to capture the essential physics of the remanence acquisition process and to explore magnetic behaviour ‘in silico’, allowing predictions to be made that can be tested directly against experimental observations at all length scales. Sample-return missions to asteroids, comets, moons and planets will soon provide unprecedented opportunities for extraterrestrial paleomagnetism. Nanopaleomagnetism will provide the methodology and instrumentation needed to analyse these precious materials.

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