Research Studentship in 3D Metamaterials

3.5-year D.Phil. studentship 

Project: SYnthesizing 3D METAmaterials for RF, Microwave and THz Applications (SYMETA)

Supervisors: Profs Chris Stevens and Ekaterina Shamonina

This studentship is part of a funded project on Electromagnetic Metamaterials being jointly undertaken by the University of Oxford (Professor Chris Stevens) and the SYMETA Consortium consisting of the universities of Loughborough, Exeter and Sheffield with Queen Mary college.

SYMETA responds to Grand Challenge 3: Engineering across length scales, from atoms to applications. This Challenge area requires researchers to consider design across the scales for both products and systems looking at new approaches to bridge the meso-scale (intermediate-scale) gap and taking into consideration that many engineering systems are dynamic. SYMETA's grand vision is to deliver a palette of novel, multi-functional 3D metamaterials (synthetic composite materials with structure that exhibit properties not usually found in natural materials) using emerging additive manufacturing (AM), with the potential to support a single 'design-build' process. Our goal, to compile a palette of meta-atoms (the basic building blocks of metamaterials) and then to organise these inclusions systematically to give the desired bulk properties, opens up a plethora of new structures. This will not only improve existing applications but inspire new applications by breaking down barriers to innovation.

Introducing these novel structures into the complex world of electronic design will offer a radical new way of designing and manufacturing electronics. The metamaterials will be developed to give end-users the electromagnetic responses they require, for a wide range of communication, electronics, energy and defence applications. The meta-atoms comprising the metamaterial will be micro-scale, i.e. small in comparison to the wavelength of operation, and fabricated from a range of new and existing raw materials, including the incorporation of dielectric, metallic and magnetic components. They will facilitate complex multi-component systems, incorporating elements such as inductors, capacitors, and resistors through to transmission lines and matching circuits and filters, to be created in hybrid and multi system AM - reducing waste, cost and timescales.

The SYMETA project has three overarching research goals:

1.         To synthesize a palette of 3D meta-atoms using suitable materials.
2.         To construct designer-specified 3D arrangements of meta-atoms using process efficient AM to create metamaterials
3.         To build demonstrators for applications at RF, microwave and THz frequency ranges.

The student will focus on the development of the demonstrators with a view to a complete design build and test cycle for rapid manufacturing of future metamaterial devices.


This studentship is funded through the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Doctoral Training Partnership and is open to both UK students (full award – fees plus stipend) and EU students (partial award – fees only). Full details of the EPSRC eligibility requirements can be found here.

Award Value

University tuition fees are covered at the level set for UK/EU students, as are Oxford college fees (c. £7,432 in total p.a.). The stipend (tax-free maintenance grant) is c. £14,553 p.a. for the first year, and at least this amount for a further two and a half years. 

Candidate Requirements

Prospective candidates will be judged according to how well they meet the following criteria:

  • A first class honours degree in Engineering, Physics or Materials Science
  • Excellent English written and spoken communication skills

The following skills are desirable but not essential:

  • Ability to program in Matlab
  • Design and fabrication of PCBs
  • Antenna and communications electronics

Application Procedure

Informal enquiries are encouraged and should be addressed to Prof Chris Stevens (

Candidates must submit a graduate application form and are expected to meet the graduate admissions criteria.  Details are available on the course page of the University website.

Please quote 18ENGIN_06DTP in all correspondence and in your graduate application.

Application deadline:  noon on 19 January 2018 

Start date: October 2018