PhD position quantitative in situ electron microscopy of metal halide perovskite materials

Updated: 17 days ago

Department: Department of Physics
Regime Full-time

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The EMAT research group at the Faculty of Science (University of Antwerp) is seeking to fill 2 PhD positions in the area of Quantitative in situ electron microscopy of metal halide perovskite materials under the supervision of Prof Sara Bals and Prof Van Aert.

Light detection and emission are crucial for displays, medical and security scanners. Given the societal relevance, there is an emerging need for novel opto-electronic materials with higher conversion efficiency and lower production cost. Metal halide perovskites (MHPs) are promising high-performance semiconductors due to their strong absorption and emission in a broad spectral range and their ease of manufacturing. So far, integration in opto-electronic devices was hampered by inherent stability issues such as the degradation from the optically active “black” phase into an inactive phase. In this project, we explore a fundamentally new route to stabilize the black phase under ambient conditions. The role of the PhD student is to develop and apply novel low-dose electron microscopy techniques and perform a quantitative analysis of the obtained data. The specific job description can be found below.

Research group

EMAT is one of the leading electron microscopy centers in the world and has a vast expertise in both fundamental and applied electron microscopy. EMAT has several state of the art electron microscopes including two aberration corrected, high end FEI-Titan instruments, a dual beam FIB, an environmental SEM,... More about us at our webpage .

PhD position

  • You will develop and apply low-dose TEM techniques such as exit wave reconstruction and integrated differential phase contrast imaging to investigate CsPbI3  thin films without electron beam damage.
  • You will expand these techniques to 3 dimensions using electron tomography approaches.
  • You will combine all of the novel methodologies with in situ investigation using different dedicated holders (eg strain, bias, gas, heating).
  • You will develop quantitative methods to analyse and correctly interpret low-dose TEM data. Because of the low electron dose that is required to image the MHPs without beam damage, the resulting images will exhibit very low signal-to-noise ratio and extremely weak contrast, which makes this research very challenging.
  • You will use statistics-based methods to measure unknown structure parameters, including atom positions, atom types, and number of atoms along the viewing direction. These measurements need to be done as accurately and precisely as possible.
  • You will investigate the possibilities of applying the concept of deep learning. By training a convolutional neural network, in which detailed image simulations are used as an input, we expect to be able to reliably locate even the lightest atomic elements.
  • You will introduce and apply new quantitative analysis tools to track changes in the atomic structure over time under operando conditions.


  • The PhD candidate will prepare a doctoral thesis in the field of sciences.
  • You publish scientific articles related to the research project of the assignment.
  • You present your work at national and international workshops and conferences.


  • You hold a Master’s degree with background in e.g. physics, applied physics, or materials science.
  • You can demonstrate excellent study results.
  • Your research qualities are in line with the faculty and university research policies .
  • You act with attention to quality, integrity, creativity and cooperation.
  • You are enthusiastic and greatly interested in electron microscopy.
  • You can submit outstanding academic results.
  • You are highly motivated, quality-oriented, conscientious, creative and cooperative.
  • You have affinity with experimental work and show good practical skills.
  • You are greatly interested in the quantitative analysis of electron microscopy data.

What we offer

  • A doctoral scholarship for a period of 1 year. Following a positive evaluation, the scholarship can be renewed for another 3 years.
  • An exciting project in which we will aim to go significantly beyond the state-of-the-art.
  • The preferred start date is as soon as possible but will be adapted to the selected candidate’s availability.
  • Your monthly scholarship amount is calculated according to the scholarship amounts  for doctoral scholarship holders on the pay scales for contract research staff (Dutch: Bijzonder Academisch Personeel, BAP).
  • You will have the opportunity to be immersed in a world-class, dynamic and stimulating work environment with state-of-the-art instrumentation and computing facilities (see also  ).
  • Find out more about working at the University of Antwerp here .

Want to apply?

  • You can apply for this vacancy through the University of Antwerp’s online job application platform until June 27, 2024. Click on the 'Apply' button, complete the online application form and be sure to include the following attachments:
    • a motivation letter (please state for which of the 3 positions you are applying),
    • your academic CV (including followed courses, honours, previous work, programming skills, publications, …)
    • a weblink to a short video introducing yourself,
    • a list and grades of the courses from that you took during your studies (Bachelor and Master)
    • contact info of 2 professional referees.
  • The selection committee will review all of the applications as soon as possible after the application deadline. As soon as a decision has been made, we will inform you about the next steps in the selection procedure.
  • If you have any questions about the online application form, please check the frequently asked questions  or send an email to [email protected] . Additional information about job itself can be obtained from: Dr. Lucian Covaci, [email protected]

The University of Antwerp received the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research Award  for its HR policy. We are a sustainable, family-friendly organisation which invests in its employees’ growth. We encourage diversity  and attach great importance to an inclusive working environment and equal opportunities, regardless of gender identity, disability, race, ethnicity, religion or belief, sexual orientation or age. We encourage people from diverse backgrounds and with diverse characteristics to apply.

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