PhD: Exploring metal carboxylate-related electrical properties and ionic processes in oil paint films: fundamental insights into historical oil paintings’ degradation processes

Updated: about 2 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 15 May 2024

24 Feb 2024
Job Information
Organisation/Company

Université catholique de Louvain
Department

Institute of Information and Communication Technologies, Electronics and Applied Mathematics (ICTEAM)
Research Field

Chemistry » Applied chemistry
Researcher Profile

First Stage Researcher (R1)
Country

Belgium
Application Deadline

15 May 2024 - 12:00 (Europe/Brussels)
Type of Contract

Temporary
Job Status

Full-time
Hours Per Week

38
Offer Starting Date

1 Sep 2024
Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?

Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?

No

Offer Description

Historical oil paintings undergo complex chemical transformations as they age, triggering the production of a wide variety of metal carboxylates within the paint films. Metal soaps and oxalates are two metal carboxylate types known to irreversibly modify an oil painting’s physical, chemical, and aesthetic properties, often threatening its long-term conservation. Fundamental aspects of the metal carboxylate-mediated degradation of such paintings are still poorly understood. For instance, certain ionic phenomena involving metal soaps and oxalates, suspected to alter oil paint films, have not been explored.

The EEHOP project (Electromagnetic Exploration of Historical Oil Paintings) is an interdisciplinary research project that will investigate how ionic dissociation, exchange, and migration processes occurring between metal soaps and oxalates are correlated to a film’s electrical properties, chemical composition and ambient relative humidity. To do so, we will innovatively introduce a wideband electromagnetic characterization methodology in the heritage oil paint research field. We aim to determine how an oil film’s electrical complex permittivity evolves with aging and changes in chemical composition, or water content due to relative humidity fluctuations. By such an approach we hope to be able to probe the ionic exchange and migration processes between metal soaps and oxalates via the detected variation of the film’s electrical properties at various humidity rates.

The EEHOP project will push forward the boundaries of the current knowledge on historical oil paint degradation mechanisms. These advancements will help improving oil painting preventive conservation and restoration policies to minimize the carboxylate-induced causes of their degradation and thus strongly contribute to the long-term stability and conservation of the vast cultural heritage constituted by historical oil painting collections, both in Belgium and abroad.


Requirements
Research Field
Chemistry » Analytical chemistry
Education Level
Master Degree or equivalent

Research Field
Chemistry » Organic chemistry
Education Level
Master Degree or equivalent

Skills/Qualifications

To achieve its research objectives, the EEHOP project is looking for a doctoral researcher with the following profile:

  • You have a Master's degree (120 credits) in science or engineering with a specialization in physics-chemistry of materials; 
  • You are scientifically curious and have a keen interest in research;
  • You have in-depth knowledge of organic and coordination chemistry;
  • Basic knowledge of electromagnetism and/or high-frequency measurement techniques (from MHz to GHz) will be an important asset;
  • You have theoretical and practical knowledge of the analytical methods used for the micro-characterization of organic and inorganic materials, such as microscopic (OM-POL/UV and SEM-EDX), elemental (e.g. XRF and ICP), molecular (µ-FTIR and MRS) and chromatographic (HPLC and GC-MS) analysis methods;
  • Knowledge of heritage chemistry, with particular emphasis on drying oil-based paint systems, pigment-oil binder interactions and the various types of metal carboxylates found in oil-based paint layers is desirable;
  • You have practical experience in the use of simulation and data processing software such as MatLab or Python;
  • You are able to carry out high-quality work in interdisciplinary research projects;
  • You work in a structured way, taking into account priorities and deadlines;
  • You are able to work both independently and as part of a team;
  • You are willing to take the initiative and invest yourself in your work;
  • You have excellent writing and oral communication skills in English;

 


Specific Requirements

CONDITIONS OF APPOINTMENT

The appointment is subject to the candidate completing a doctoral thesis under the co-supervision of the two EEHOP project co-promoters.  To this end, the candidate will be awarded a doctoral scholarship. At the end of a 4-year thesis, a doctorate in engineering sciences may be awarded by the Université catholique de Louvain.


Languages
ENGLISH
Level
Good

Languages
FRENCH
Level
Basic

Research Field
Chemistry » Organic chemistry

Additional Information
Selection process

HOW TO APPLY ?

Applications must be emailed to Prof. Isabelle Huynen ([email protected] ) and Dr. Francisco Mederos-Henry ([email protected] ). They must include a motivation and a recommendation letter as well as a detailed CV demonstrating the presence of the required skills.


Work Location(s)
Number of offers available
1
Company/Institute
Université catholique de Louvain
Country
Belgium
City
Louvain-la-Neuve
Postal Code
1348
Street
place du Levant 3
Geofield


Where to apply
E-mail

[email protected]

Contact
City

Louvain-la-Neuve
Website

http://www.uclouvain.be/icteam
Street

Place du Levant, 3
Postal Code

1348

STATUS: EXPIRED

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