PhD scholarship in In Situ Structural Catalyst Characterization

Monday 13 May 19

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Apply no later than 7 June 2019
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The National Centre for Nanofabrication and Characterization at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) is seeking a PhD student to work on structural and chemical characterization of nanoparticle based heterogeneous catalysts for synthesis of sustainable fuels and chemicals under conditions approaching those found in an industrial reactor by means of high-end electron microscopy.

Operando imaging and spectroscopy has become a cornerstone in the development of novel catalyst systems. We use electron microscopy to visualize and characterize the working catalyst. The fundamental insight of the dynamic structure-functionality relation at the atomic level is necessary for development of new and improved heterogeneous catalysts.

Responsibilities and tasks
The project is part of the The Villum Center for the Science of Sustainable Fuels and Chemicals (V-SUSTAIN) headed by Prof. Ib Chorkendorff. The Center will in general concentrate its efforts on developing the technology that can ensure fossil-free production of energy, fuels and chemicals. 

  • You are interested in contributing to the fundamental understanding of nanoparticle based catalysts based on structure-functionality relationships
  • You are interested in paving the way towards a fossil-free future
  • You will be responsible for development, optimization, and application of equipment and methodology used for operando imaging in transmission electron microscopes
  • You will contribute to new fundamental knowledge on synthesis and operating conditions of catalysts for a sustainable future
  • Your research could include electron microscopy based characterization of catalytic systems from cradle to grave meaning from synthesis, through on-stream active life to the deactivated state
  • You will work in an interdisciplinary project and act as the link between DTU Nanolab and other project partners in V-SUSTAIN
This project has two main parts.

One part is to characterize novel catalyst systems developed within the project consortium under conditions approaching those found in industrial reactors aiming at unraveling their morphology and how it develops.

The other part of the project is to develop and optimize the equipment used for operando imaging in electron microscopes. This latter part involves development and understanding of how various gas species, gas flows, gas pressure and temperature influences imaging at the sub-Ångstrøm level. Reaction products will be measured by mass spectrometry in order to correlate catalytic activity to structure.

Candidates should have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree. Experience with catalysis, spectroscopy, or electron microscopy is beneficial. 
  • A Master degree in Physics, Chemistry, Materials Science, or Chemical Engineering is preferred.
  • Good communication skills and a good command in English is expected.
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 at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see the DTU PhD Guide.  

The assessment of the applicants will be made by associate professor Christian D. Damsgaard, and Professor Jakob Birkedal Wagner. 

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 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 workplace during the PhD project will mainly be at DTU Nanolab, b307, Lyngby Campus. 

You can read more about 
career paths at DTU here

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Senior Researcher, Thomas Willum Hansen, tel.: +45 4525 6476 and Professor Jakob B. Wagner, tel +45 4525 6471.

You can read more about DTU Nanolab at

Please submit your online application no later than 7 June 2019 (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 out 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.

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered. 

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

DTU Nanolab is a common infrastructure and research facility located at and fully owned by the Technical University of Denmark, DTU. DTU Nanolab houses a state-of-the-art electron microscopy center, which was inaugurated in Dec. 2007. The work carried out at DTU Nanolab spans the range of basic topographical studies to highly sophisticated analysis of nanoscale materials in hard and soft matter.  

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.