PhD scholarship in Charges and Potentials in Liquid Phase Electron Microscopy

Updated: 20 days ago

This 3-year PhD project seeks to find ways to obtain the deepest level of understanding of charges and potentials in liquid chemical processes. It is based on unique nanochannel systems that allows us to probe liquid processes with electron microscopes that provide both atomic level resolution, and to use electron holographic methods that enables mapping electrical potentials. Combined, this makes a unique new window to molecular sized dynamics in liquids that can give fundamental insight and benefit a wide range of scientific fields.

Understanding, predicting and controlling colloidal nanoparticle diffusion, interaction, assembly, and transport are major challenges in materials chemistry, physics and bioscience. In a wide variety of fundamentally important processes, the essential driving forces are the electrical fields in the electrolyte, and the potentials and charges on the surfaces of particles in the liquid and structures with which they can interact. Apart from dynamic light scattering under AC fields for zetapotential measurements on ensembles of nanoparticles, these entities have to date been elusive to measure, especially on an individual nanoparticle basis, or near electrodes.

The PhD will be part of Kristian Mølhave’s Molecular Windows group at DTU Nanolab ( ). The group develops microchip based systems for microscopy, that provide improved understanding of complex processes by combining key control and analysis methods with electron microscopy for use in both basic and applied science. The project is in collaboration with leading researchers at world class microscopy facilities at the Research Centre Juelich in Germany with Rafal Dunin-Borkowski, and Paul Alivisatos’ research group at UC Berkeley, Ca, USA.

Responsibilities and tasks
In this project, you will 

  • Refine our specialized nanochannel systems in the advanced cleanroom facility available at DTU Nanolab collaborating with other group members.
  • Perform electrokinetic experiments with the systems in the state-of-art electron microscopes available at DTU nanolab, after verifying functionality using optical microscopy.
  • Study how charges and potentials influence processes in nanofluidic systems and probe the dynamics with optical microscopy and electron microscopy
  • Combine off axis electron holography, and map charge and potentials (static and dynamic) at a single particle level with a few nanometer spatial resolution.
  • Facilitate and lead the international collaboration within the project.
  • Mentor bachelor and master students.

The project requires numerous skills that you can learn, but if you have competences in them already your chances of success rise, especially in the core science topics being used and studied: 

  • Transmission electron microscopy
  • Electron holography
  • Microfabrication
  • Electrokinetics
  • Electrochemistry
  • Image analysis (python, matlab, Fiji or similar)

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.

Competences supporting the above tasks is likely an advantage.

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 will be made by the supervisor team consisting of main supervisor Kristian Mølhave

(DTU Nanolab), and co-supervisor Murat Yesibolati (Post doc, DTU Nanolab).

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 scholarship will start as soon as possible.

The project involves research stays to work in laboratories in Germany and UC Berkeley, USA.

You can read more about
career paths at DTU here .

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Associate Professor Kristian Mølhave, tel.: +45 2512 6672, e-mail: .

You can read more about DTU Nanolab at .

Please submit your online application no later than 21 June 2020 (23:59 local time)
We have two PhD projects on liquid phase electron microscopy available for applications simultaneously, and you are welcome to apply for both but do so with separate applications for each.

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
The National Centre for Nano Fabrication and Characterization in Denmark is at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). We provide access to a specially constructed facility for advanced electron microscopy and to 1500 m2  of cleanroom allowing state of the art processing to fabricate chips and devices for a large variety of applications. Our expertise is research based, with multiple research groups that focus on methods for imaging and characterization down to atomic resolution and on scalable nanofabrication technologies.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 11,500 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.

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