PhD scholarship in Fabrication of porous and fractal-like carbon microelectrodes for energy storage

DTU Nanotech
onsdag 27 jun 18

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Frist 1. august 2018
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We are looking for a talented PhD candidate to join the project ‘Pyrolytic Hierarchical Organic Electrodes for sustaiNable Electrochemical Energy Systems (PHOENEEX)’, which is funded by a European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant.

The overall vision of PHOENEEX is to develop a miniaturised biobattery. For this purpose, we will investigate novel approaches for the fabrication of 3D carbon microelectrodes (3DCMEs) with highly tailored material properties, large surface area and hierarchical architecture using pyrolysis. In this process, patterned polymer precursors are exposed to high temperatures (> 900 °C) in inert atmosphere (N2 or Ar) and converted into pyrolytic carbon. We will apply the 3DCMEs to i) considerably improve the efficiency of energy harvesting in microbial fuel cells and ii) enhance temporal storage of the harvested energy in microsupercapacitors. In this context, you will work in close collaboration with several researchers in an interdisciplinary team.

We are based at DTU Nanotech, where we conduct cross-disciplinary research where micro- and nanotechnology is applied to a wide range of scientific disciplines and applications. The Biomaterial Microsystems group is a highly ambitious group, pursuing research on microfabrication of 3D polymer and carbon structures and devices and their application in drug delivery, bioelectrochemistry and biosensing.

Responsibilities and tasks
For microelectrode fabrication, there is a lack of systematic study and fundamental understanding of the influence of the template material on the properties of pyrolytic carbon materials. The existing investigations have typically been limited to a few polymers.

Your main contribution will be the development of novel methods to fabricate porous pyrolytic carbon electrodes with large surface area. For this purpose, you will need to investigate the pyrolysis of different polymer precursors systematically in order to be able to tailor the structural and electrochemical properties of the resulting carbon materials. These novel materials will be used for the fabrication of 3D carbon microelectrodes and mainly applied to energy storage in microsupercapacitors.

We expect that you:

  • embrace the responsibility to plan and execute experimental research
  • are interested in material science, polymer engineering and/or microfabrication and are eager to explore new research areas
  • ideally have experience with carbon materials or electrochemical energy storage
  • have excellent engineering skills and an analytical mindset
  • are motivated to contribute to technology enabling sustainable energy
  • like teamwork and have the ability to interact and collaborate with researchers and laboratory technicians in a very cross-disciplinary environment
Candidates should have a master's degree in engineering or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to the master's degree in engineering.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes of DTU. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

The assessment of the applicants will be made by Associate Professor Stephan Sylvest Keller (DTU Nanotech) and Professor Kristoffer Almdal (DTU Nanotech).

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and an academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

The microfabrication will be carried out at DTU Lyngby Campus at DTU Nanotech and DTU Danchip. Through the ERC grant, a new laboratory – the PHOENEEX lab - will be established providing the infrastructure necessary to conduct the research in this ambitious project.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Associate Professor Stephan Sylvest Keller,, tel.: +45 4525 5846.

You can read more about DTU Nanotech and the Biomaterial Microsystems group at

More information on the framework of the ERC Consolidator Grant can be found here.

Please submit your online application no later than 1 August 2018 (local time).

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill in the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:
  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)

Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree, but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU Nanotech - the Department of Micro- and Nanotechnology - is situated in the northern part of Copenhagen. DTU Nanotech is a centre of excellence in micro- and nanotechnology utilising sciences across the traditional boundaries of technology, thereby enabling innovative solutions for the benefit of society. DTU Nanotech has approximately. 270 staff members with 40 % international employees, hence, the department constitutes an international environment.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 6,000 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society, and our 11,200 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government and public agencies.