PhD scholarship in Electrocatalysis by Single Nanoparticles in Liquid Environments

Updated: 10 days ago

The Center for Visualizing Catalytic Processes (VISION) is seeking an outstanding candidate for a PhD scholarship. VISION is located at DTU Physics and funded by the Danish National Research Foundation. Specifically, VISION aims at developing and applying a platform for visualizing catalytic nanoparticles and reactions at the atomic-level by combining cutting-edge atomic-resolution electron microscopy, micro-electro-mechanical-systems, nanoparticle synthesis and theoretical modelling.

The research project will be part of an interdisciplinary effort on relating the atomic-scale structure, dynamics and functions of single nanoparticles during electrocatalysis needed to tackle the environmental challenge of our time. Specifically, the project will develop a novel electrocatalytic reactor for operando atomic-resolution electron microscopy (TEM) and apply it to resolve the dynamic structure of single nanoparticles under reducing or oxidizing electrocatalytic reactions at the atomic-scale.   

Responsibilities and tasks
The main tasks of the candidate are experimental and shared between making reactors in DTU's clean-room facilities and atomic-resolution electron microscopy. 

Specifically, the work will involve:

  • Developing an electrocatalytic reactor for operando atomic-resolution EM.
  • Fabricating electrocatalytic reactors in the clean room and test the devices by EM.
  • Advancing experimental protocols for detecting the pristine state while suppressing electron-beam-induced alterations of the nanoparticle.
  • Applying the electrocatalytic reactors for operando atomic-resolution EM of single nanoparticles under oxidizing and reducing reaction conditions.
  • Direct observations of electrocatalytically active sites on nanoparticles.
  • Exploring how the nanoparticle surface motifs can be stabilized into conformations with extraordinary catalytic performance.

The project will be conducted in close collaboration with VISION’s five faculty members and a group of PhD students, postdocs and international leading scientists all working at the technological edge of modern electron microscopy for advancing catalysis science. In interplay with complementary functionality measurements and theoretical modelling, the project aims at elucidating how single nanoparticles catalyze electrochemical reactions at the atomic-level.

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.

The successful candidate will have a degree in physics, chemistry or materials science with outstanding results. The candidate should have thoroughly documented experience in at least one of the following disciplines: microfabrication, electrochemistry and electron microscopy. Experience in programming, e.g. using Python, is an advantage.

The candidate has obtained excellent grades in his/her Bachelor and Master educations, has good communication skills in both spoken and written English, and has experience in working independently and in a team. 

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 DTU's rules for the PhD education . 

The assessment of the applications will be made by Professor Peter C. K. Vesborg, Assoc. Prof. Jakob Kibsgaard, Post.doc. Christopher J. O. Klingshirn and Professor Stig Helveg, DTU Physics.

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.

Experimental work will be conducted at DTU Physics as well as at affiliated laboratories at Haldor Topsoe A/S (Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark) and abroad.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here .

Further information

Further information may be obtained from Professor Peter C. K. Vesborg, e-mail: , Assoc. Prof. Jakob Kibsgaard, e-mail: and Professor Stig Helveg, email: . 

You can read more about DTU Physics at .

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark .   

Application procedure
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than9 January 2022 (Danish 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 including official description of grading scale

You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications 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 Physics
At DTU Physics, we carry out cutting-edge research in modern physics, with particular focus on four main areas: quantum technology, sustainable energy, materials, and biophysics. Our focus is both to acquire greater knowledge about basic scientific problems and to conduct research oriented towards use in societies and companies.

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 12,900 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world.

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