PhD position - Thermophoresis of ionic (bio-)compounds and chelating agents

Updated: about 2 hours ago

Your Job:

Thermophoresis or thermodiffusion describes the coupling between a temperature gradient and the resulting mass flow in a multicomponent system. The effect is discussed in connection with the question of the "origin of life" and is used as a powerful sensor to determine the binding constants of protein-ligand systems. Thermophoretic study of ions reveals ion-specific hydration, which is crucial for biological information processes. The goal of this project is to gain a better microscopic understanding through systematic studies of the thermodiffusion of salt solutions and chelating agents used to control ions. The results obtained will be used to improve and develop new theoretical concepts for the underlying physical mechanism. Your tasks will include:

  • Characterization of samples using thermal diffusion forced Rayleigh scattering and isothermal titration calorimetry.
  • Design and set-up of a conductometric cell for dilute salt solutions.
  • Data evaluation and, if necessary, modeling of experimental results using finite element methods
  • Participation in conferences in Germany and abroad (incl. presenting your research results)
  • Exchange with internal and external as well as national and international project partners
  • Preparing scientific publications

Your Profile:

  • A scientific university degree (Master) in the field of physical chemistry or (chemical) physics, with an overall grade of at least “gut” (or equivalent, e.g. cum laude)
  • Expertise in thermodynamics, statistical mechanics and optics is desired
  • Expertise in data and error analysis, and computer skills is desired.
  • Experience in construction software e.g. Autocad and finite element method are a plus
  • Experimental skills and perseverance
  • Very reliable and conscientious style of working
  • Commitment, high degree of team spirit, as well as enjoyment of cooperative teamwork
  • Fluent command of written and spoken English, German language skills would be an advantage

Our Offer:

We work on the very latest issues that impact our society and are offering you the chance to actively help in shaping the change! We offer ideal conditions for you to complete your doctoral degree:

  • An interesting and innovative research topic at the interface between chemistry, physics and biology.
  • Basic training in optical scattering methods, biophysics and protein biochemistry
  • Excellent scientific and technical infrastructure - optimal conditions for a successful doctorate
  • A highly motivated research group as well as an international and interdisciplinary working environment in one of the largest research facilities in Europe, located in the city triangle Cologne-Aachen-Düsseldorf
  • Continuous professional supervision by your scientific supervisor
  • You will be employed at Forschungszentrum Jülich, but obtain your PhD degree at the University in Cologne.
  • Participation in national and international conferences
  • Comprehensive training courses and individual opportunities for personal and professional further development; a structured program of continuing education and networking opportunities specifically for PhD students through JuDocS, the Jülich Center for Doctoral Researchers and Supervisors:
  • Working for one of the best employers in Germany - 6th place in the Glassdoor award for employee satisfaction:,29.htm
  • Targeted services for international employees, e.g. through our International Advisory Service

Applicants and successful candidates can also apply for membership in the International Helmholtz Research School of Biophysics and Soft Matter ( that provides a complementary research training at the interfaces of biology, chemistry, and physics, as well as transferable skills courses.

Further information on the project is available at:

The position is for a fixed term of 3 years. Pay in line with 50% of pay group 13 of the Collective Agreement for the Public Service (TVöD-Bund) and additionally 60 % of a monthly salary as special payment („Christmas bonus“). Pay higher than the basic pay may be possible. Further information on doctoral degrees at Forschungszentrum Jülich including our other locations is available at:

We welcome applications from people with diverse backgrounds, e.g. in terms of age, gender, disability, sexual orientation / identity, and social, ethnic and religious origin. A diverse and inclusive working environment with equal opportunities in which everyone can realize their potential is important to us.

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