PhD on nucleation and growth processes in solids reacting with two gases

Updated: about 1 month ago
Deadline: 12 Nov 2023

Irène Curie Fellowship



Applied Physics and Science Education

Reference number


Job description

Are you fascinated by phase transitions in solids? Are you passionate about experimental techniques? Are you eager to contribute to technology facilitating the energy transition? Do you want to take part in an international collaboration? Then you are the right person to apply on one of this position.

Job Description

The aim of this project is to understand phase transitions (nucleation and growth) in solids induced by the absorption of two gases. Together with computational chemists you will identify the most promising solids that react with two gases and can be used for thermal energy storage. You will characterize the phase diagrams of these solids, study the kinetics (nucleation and growth processes) of these materials and unravel the structural transformations occurring during the reaction. You will use TGA-DSC, SEM, in situ-XRD, impedance spectroscopy and if needed NMR. In parallel you will study nucleation and growth processes in already identified candidate: K2 CO3 that can react with two gases: water and carbon dioxide.

To store thermal energy in a solid (a heat battery), one can make use of reversible solid-gas reactions. In these reactions crystalline solids absorb a gas and undergo a change in the crystal structure. Presently, salt hydration is evaluated in view of heat storage in the built environment. As salt hydration involves only one gas (water), there is a tight connection between the choice of the salt and the temperature of the heat to be delivered. Switching to new use conditions (different input and output temperatures), imply switching to another salt. Solids reacting with two gases offer more flexibility as phase diagrams can be tuned by the second gas. This PhD project is part of the larger EU project 4TunaTES that focusses on developing tunable technology for long term compact heat storage. 4TunaTES is aiming for creating flexibility on material, component, and system level. Your work will focus on the fundamental understanding of the materials that should serve as a seed for materials development.

In the 4TunaTES project you will collaborate with researchers from the VUB (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), CNR-ITAE (Institute for Advanced Energy Technologies), DLR (German Aerospace Center) and Cellcius B.V. You will become a member of the group Transport in Permeable Media (TPM) of the Applied Physics department, which has strong track record in the field of thermo-chemical materials in general and salt hydrates in particular.

Job requirements
  • A master’s degree (or an equivalent university degree) in physics or physical chemistry.
  • A strong background in phase transitions: nucleation and growth phenomena.
  • Proven experience with advanced experimental tools
  • Mastering C, C++ and Matlab or similar programming languages
  • A research-oriented attitude.
  • Ability to work in an interdisciplinary team and interested in collaborating application-oriented partners.
  • Motivated to develop your teaching skills and coach students.
  • Fluent in spoken and written English (C1 level).

Conditions of employment

A meaningful job in a dynamic and ambitious university, in an interdisciplinary setting and within an international network. You will work on a beautiful, green campus within walking distance of the central train station. In addition, we offer you:

  • Full-time employment for four years, with an intermediate evaluation (go/no-go) after nine months. You will spend 10% of your employment on teaching tasks.
  • Salary and benefits (such as a pension scheme, paid pregnancy and maternity leave, partially paid parental leave) in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, scale P (€ 2.770,-- in the first year up to € 3.539,-- in the fourth year).
  • A year-end bonus of 8.3% and annual vacation pay of 8%.
  • High-quality training programs and other support to grow into a self-aware, autonomous scientific researcher. At TU/e we challenge you to take charge of your own learning process .
  • An excellent technical infrastructure, on-campus children's day care and sports facilities.
  • An allowance for commuting, working from home and internet costs.
  • A Staff Immigration Team and the possibility, depending on your personal situation, to participate in a tax compensation scheme (the 30% facility) for international candidates.

Information and application

About us

Eindhoven University of Technology is an internationally top-ranking university in the Netherlands that combines scientific curiosity with a hands-on attitude. Our spirit of collaboration translates into an open culture and a top-five position in collaborating with advanced industries. Fundamental knowledge enables us to design solutions for the highly complex problems of today and tomorrow. 


Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more?  Please contact the hiring manager Dr. H.P. Huinink, Associate Professor, h.p.huinink[at]

Visit our website for more information about the application process or the conditions of employment. You can also contact HR: hrservices.flux[at]

Are you inspired and would like to know more about working at TU/e? Please visit our career page .


We invite you to submit a complete application by using the apply button. The application should include a:

  • Cover letter in which you describe your motivation and qualifications for the position.
  • Curriculum vitae, including a list of your publications and the contact information of three references.

We look forward to receiving your application and will screen it as soon as possible. The vacancy will remain open until the position is filled.

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