Nanostructure surveys of natural and biomimetic dental tissues by 3D SAXS tensor tomography

This funded project on novel 3D SAXS tensor tomography is a joint studentship between University of Surrey, Diamond Light Diamond Light Source and Chalmers University of Technology to create new knowledge and address challenging problems for bioinspired and natural materials

Start date

1 October 2019


3.5 years

Application deadline

Funding source

EPSRC and Diamond Light Source

Funding information

A competitive stipend of £17,000 will be paid and full fees are met.


This 3.5-year studentship is part of a funded project on 3D SAXS tensor tomography being jointly undertaken by the University of Surrey (Dr Tan Sui), Chalmers University of Technology (Dr Marianne Liebi) and Diamond Light Source (Prof Nick Terrill & Dr Andy Smith).

In our quest to understand the behaviour of natural materials in order to make better use of existing ones and create novel and superior products, we need to be able to determine the structure at every increasing levels of resolution throughout the body. In this project, we seek to develop and apply the advanced 3D SAXS tensor tomography at beamline I22 to create a unique capability that will significantly extend our characterisation expertise and open up new avenues of research. The objective of the project is to enable significant understanding of the nanofibrillar collagen structural evolution at different stages of dentine demineralisation using an acid induced model, and the understanding of key structural factors that affect the mechanical performance of novel bio-inspired hierarchical dental composite aiming for biomimetic design of reliable dental prosthesis and other dentine-like materials. Whilst the new science that this instrumentation will enable spans a range of seemingly disparate areas (initially from dental materials), the development of common methodologies will unite the various users and provide a mechanism for the cross-fertilisation of research ideas. Additionally, this project will serve as a basis for new science exploitation leading towards Diamond II and the projected low emittance properties of the new ring.

This project allows close collaboration between the University of Surrey, Chalmers University of Technology and Diamond Light Source (DLS) to create new knowledge and address challenging problems for natural and biomimetic dental tissues. The successful PhD candidate will engage in performing a comprehensive study and research using the complimentary state-of-the-art instrumentation and equipment at the I22 beamline at DLS and the Department of Mechanical Engineering Sciences (MES) at Surrey (e.g. Plasma FIB Laboratory, Surface Analysis Laboratory and Microstructural Studies Unit). This project is also supported through the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in MiNMaT (Micro- and NanoMaterials and Technologies) at the University of Surrey studentship programme (

Eligibility criteria

A first, Upper Second, or a merit at Masters is required to apply to this position. Your qualification must be in the physical sciences.

International studentships are allocated only at the discretion of the C DT Director. Please note such allocations are rare and are wholly dependent on academic excellence and available funding.

IELTS academic: 6.5 or above.

How to apply

Applications for this studentship are now closed.

All interested parties should in the first instance contact the Centre Manager, Noelle Hartley, by email at

The Centre doesn’t accept direct applications – we request expressions of interest in the first instance.

This position has been filled.

Studentship FAQs

Read our studentship FAQs to find out more about applying and funding.

Contact details

Noelle Hartley
05 AB 03
Telephone: +44 (0)1483 683467


Visit the research centre website for further background information about the Engineering Doctorate programme.

The sponsor for this project is Diamond Light Source.


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