Doctoral Candidate in Nanoscale moisture behaviour of wood studied with X-ray and neutron techniques

Updated: 9 months ago
Deadline: The position may have been removed or expired!

Aalto University is a community of bold thinkers where science and art meet technology and business. We are committed to identifying and solving grand societal challenges and building an innovative future. Aalto has six schools with nearly 11 000 students and a staff of more than 4000, of which 400 are professors. Our campus is located in Espoo, Finland.

The School of Chemical Engineering is looking for,

Doctoral Candidate in Nanoscale moisture behaviour of wood studied with X-ray and neutron techniques

Moisture content determines the mechanical properties and dimensions of wood tissue and fibers. The accessibility of cellulose, and other cell wall polymers, to water is fundamental to all physico-chemical and enzymatic treatments that take place in water. Currently, the lack of fundamental understanding on the plant cell wall structure and its moisture behaviour limits the applicability of cellulosic materials.

This interdisciplinary PhD project addresses the nanoscale moisture behavior of wood using X-ray and neutron techniques, in particular small and wide-angle scattering of X-rays and neutrons (SAXS, WAXS, SANS). Experiments will be done using the SAXS/WAXS equipment at Aalto University and at large-scale facilities abroad, with the subsequent data analysis and characterization with complementary techniques (dynamic vapor sorption, confocal Raman microscopy, atomic force microscopy, FTIR spectroscopy etc.) carried out mostly at Aalto University. Multidisciplinary collaboration is expected for instance in correlating the results with molecular dynamics simulations done by partners at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. The position is based at the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems of Aalto University/School of Chemical Engineering (Otaniemi Campus, Espoo, Finland) in the Wood Material Science and Technology research group led by Prof. Lauri Rautkari. The inspiring and international research environment offers state-of-the-art laboratory equipment and the project is linked to the FinnCERES Flagship Programme of the Academy of Finland.


The successful candidate is required to hold a M.Sc. degree in physics, chemistry, materials science or a similar field and good written and oral skills in English. Previous experience with X-ray and neutron scattering methods (WAXS, SAXS, SANS) and/or computational skills for data treatment (Matlab, Octave, Python) are an asset. Experience and knowledge on wood (especially nanostructure and moisture behaviour) or other biomaterials and soft matter would also be appreciated.

In this position, you will apply the study right for doctoral studies in Aalto University. Thus, please check the student information and application criteria . In particular, please pay attention to mandatory skill level in English.


The salary is defined according to the salary system of Finnish Universities. The expected starting salary for a doctoral candidate is approximately 2400€/month and will increase with responsibilities and performance over time. The contract includes occupational health benefits. The first contract is made for 1 year.

Additional information

For additional information, please contact Dr. Paavo Penttilä ( ). In recruitment process related questions, please contact HR Coordinator Sanni Mero ( ).

How to apply

Applications including a cover letter, CV and course transcripts of M.Sc. degree with grades should be submitted online (link below). The deadline for applications is October 21, 2019 and the employment would ideally start at the beginning of December 2019.

Aalto University reserves the right for justified reasons to leave the position open, to extend the application period and to consider candidates who have not submitted applications during the application period.

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