PhD scholarship in X-ray Imaging of Plant Materials

Updated: about 1 month ago

The position is offered in the 3D Imaging Center that is part of the section Neutrons and X-rays for Materials Physics (NEXMAP) at DTU Physics, which focuses on gaining knowledge on fundamental properties of materials through experiments conducted at neutron and X-ray facilities around the world. Development of instruments, software for virtual experiments, and novel data analysis methods play a key role in this effort.

Today, we are wasting valuable resources when we fertilise our fields to grow crops, because most of the delivered nutrients are immobilised in the soil or washed into the aqueous environment. In a new large cross-disciplinary research project funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation, a cross-disciplinary group of physicists, (biogeo)-chemist, plant biologist and materials scientist from the University of Copenhagen, McGill University and DTU, will develop a novel generation of biocompatible and sustainable nanoparticle based fertilizers with superior abilities to deliver nutrient to crops in a timely an and more efficient manner. To achieve this very ambitious goal we need to understand the architecture of the plants leaves in order to unravel the pathways controlling uptake and dissolution of nano-fertilizers. Moreover we need to determine how plants and the soil interact with the engineered nanoparticles.   

The main goal of the present PhD scholarship is to study the ability of nanoparticles to cross the leaf surface and how the particles distribute, internalize and dissolve inside the leaf at the micrometre to nanometre scale. We will characterise the samples by laboratory and synchrotron phase-contrast X-ray tomography. These investigations will be complemented by other techniques, like LA-ICP-MS, SEM-EDXS and NanoSIMS.

Responsibilities and Qualifications
We are looking for a highly motivated and conscientious PhD scholar with a strong interest in cross-disciplinary science to work within the project “Biocompatible nanofertilizers for targeted delivery and programmed release of essential mineral ions in crops”.

You will learn how to perform in X-ray tomographic imaging using both laboratory and synchrotron facilities and receive training in handling samples from plants. You will  

  • Take part in improving techniques for both static and in situ X-ray imaging
  • Use X-ray tomography (microCT and nanoCT) to study the porosity of leaves of real crops and how nanoparticles are taken up by leaves. Analyse and quantify 3D images to obtain new knowledge about the dynamic processes
  • Beamtime proposals, experimental reports and scientific articles
  • Collaborate with other scientists inside and outside our group

The successful candidate should have a two-years degree (120 ECTS point) or an equivalent academic degree preferably in materials science, physics, chemistry, biology or a related subject. The candidate should fluent in English both spoken and written.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarships for the PhD degree are subject to academic approval, and the candidates 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 .

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 terms of employment
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 position is available from 1 January 2022. 

You can read more about career paths at DTU here

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Senior Scientist Henning Osholm Sørensen, tel.: +45 5168 0494, e-mail: .

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
Please submit your online application no later than Sunday 12 December 2021 (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
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here )
  • List of publications

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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