Industrial PhD Position in Time-Resolved X-ray Computed Tomography (CT)

Updated: 3 months ago
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 05 Mar 2023

About the job

A PhD position in experimental physics in the field of time-resolved X-ray microscopy is available at at the Department of Physics (NTNU) in close collaboration with Equinor ASA.

By joining our team, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Work on advanced time-resolved X-ray computed tomography (CT)
  • Develop state-of-the-art instrumentation and measurement schemes
  • Work towards viable carbon capture and storage (CCS) solutions
  • Obtain a PhD-degree in close collaboration with NTNU

We are searching for a creative, skilled and ambitious candidate to a collaboration project between the Norwegian energy company Equinor ASA and the Department of Physics at NTNU. Motivated by Norway and Equinor’s strong efforts to realize CCS (carbon capture and storage) in aquifers and in abandoned oil and gas reservoirs, the PhD student will work on methods to use X-ray computed tomography (“CT”) to study the behaviour of CO2 and native salt water under high pressure and temperature inside realistic rock systems. Phenomena to be measured and understood include phase transitions, ice and mineral precipitation, mechanical forces acting on the rocks, and corrosive effects. To this end, we plan to exploit recent advances in ‘computational imaging’, essentially integrating computer algorithms as an active part of the image formation process, thereby enabling better resolution, larger field-of-view, improved contrast, and 3D microscopy. While of huge scientific interest, time-resolved CT is difficult to perform with a satisfactory time resolution.

Advanced experimental methods based on compressed sensing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning will be adapted and further refined with the aim of time-resolved studies of liquid phase behaviour inside of porous rocks. The PhD candidate will further develop time-resolved X-ray microscopy methods using both our home-laboratories and world-leading synchrotron microscopy beamlines associated with the project. The sample systems to be studied include complex geomaterials, with special attention given to liquid and/or supercritical CO2 in porous media, which is an important topic also with regards to sustainability and climate change.

The candidate will work in an international team consisting of experts from the research department of Equinor ASA and from the Dept. of Physics at NTNU. The project will be carried out at the Rotvoll research laboratory of Equinor ASA and at NTNU Gløshaugen, both located in Trondheim. While Norway’s most attractive employer for engineering students, Equinor ASA, ensures the applicability and industrial relevance of the PhD project, Norway’s leading research environment for X-ray physics provides a congenial academic setting with several principal investigators, PhD students, postdocs and master students. The PhD candidate will thus be able to draw from an excellent knowledge base and outstanding research infrastructure. The project is financially funded by Equinor ASA.

The preferred starting date is 1 August 2023.

Duties of the position

The research work will involve designing, constructing and using state-of-the-art experimental setups. Emphasis is put on developing sophisticated 4-dimensional (3D + time resolution) X-ray microscopy measurement schemes. Sophisticated analysis and modelling of large datasets, using concepts from artificial intelligence (AI), compressed sensing, and machine learning methods, are foreseen to be a key part of the work. In addition, the candidate is expected to participate actively in group activities at both Equinor and NTNU, including field trips, co-supervision of students, and social activities.

Required selection criteria

  • The successful candidate has completed or is about to complete a master’s degree in physics, with good grades. Exceptional candidates with a background in closely related fields like nanotechnology, electrical engineering, or photonics will also be considered.
  • Your education must correspond to a five-year Norwegian degree program, where 120 credits are obtained at master's level
  • You must have a strong academic background from your previous studies and an average grade from the master's degree program, or equivalent education, which is equal to B or better compared with NTNU's grading scale. If you do not have letter grades from previous studies, you must have an equally good academic basis. If you have a weaker grade background, you may be assessed if you can document that you are particularly suitable for a PhD education.
  • You must meet the requirements for admission to the faculty's doctoral program .
  • The position requires a strong interest in experimental physics, computing science and data analysis.
  • Good working knowledge and interest in computer programming (e.g., Matlab, Python or C) are necessary to be successful in the position.
  • The position requires spoken and written fluency in English.

The appointment is to be made in accordance with  Regulations concerning the degrees of Philosophiae Doctor (PhD) and Philosodophiae Doctor (PhD) in artistic research national guidelines for appointment as PhD, post doctor and research assistant  

Preferred selection criteria

  • Hands-on experience with X-ray equipment and computed tomography would be considered a strong advantage.
  • Experience with instrumentation would be considered an advantage.
  • Experience with quantitative microscopy would be considered an advantage.
  • Knowledge of physical optics, in particular Fourier optics and imaging, would be beneficial.
  • Experience with handling and analysing big data sets would be beneficial.
  • Knowledge of phase transitions, thermal, liquid, chemical and environmental physics would be beneficial.
  • Working knowledge of Norwegian or another Scandinavian language would be evaluated positively.

Personal characteristics

The successful candidates should be creative, ambitious and enthusiastic, with a strong ability to work independently and goal oriented. Good scientific writing and oral presentation skills are requested. He/she should enjoy interdisciplinary research and take keen interest in learning and working in teams, which is of high importance in this multidisciplinary project.

Emphasis will be placed on personal and interpersonal qualities.

We offer

Salary and conditions

As a PhD candidate (code 1017) you are normally paid from gross NOK 501 200 per annum before tax.From the salary, 2% is deducted as a contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.

The period of employment is 3 years. The preferred starting date is 1 August 2023.

Appointment to a PhD position requires that you are admitted to the PhD programme in physics  within three months of employment, and that you participate in an organized PhD programme during the employment period.

The engagement is to be made in accordance with the regulations in force concerning State Employees and Civil Servants , and the acts relating to Control of the Export of Strategic Goods, Services and Technology. Candidates who by assessment of the application and attachment are seen to conflict with the criteria in the latter law will be prohibited from recruitment to NTNU. After the appointment you must assume that there may be changes in the area of work.

It is a prerequisite you can be present at and accessible to the institution daily.

About the application

The application and supporting documentation to be used as the basis for the assessment must be in English.

Publications and other scientific work must follow the application. Please note that your application will be considered based solely on information submitted by the application deadline. You must therefore ensure that your application clearly demonstrates how your skills and experience fulfil the criteria specified above.

The application must include : 

  • Cover letter (statement of motivation, summarizing scientific work and research interest)
  • CV (summarizing education, positions, pedagogical experience, administrative experience and other qualifying activity)
  • Copies of educational certificates, academic transcript of records and letters of recommendation
  • Names and contact details of 2-3 references (name, relation to candidate, e-mail and telephone number)    

If all, or parts, of your education has been taken abroad, we also ask you to attach documentation of the scope and quality of your entire education, both bachelor's and master's education, in addition to other higher education. Description of the documentation required can be found here . If you already have a statement from NOKUT, please attach this as well.

We will take joint work into account. If it is difficult to identify your efforts in the joint work, you must enclose a short description of your participation.

In the evaluation of which candidate is best qualified, emphasis will be placed on education, experience and personal and interpersonal qualities. Motivation, ambitions, and potential will also count in the assessment of the candidates. 

NTNU is committed to following evaluation criteria for research quality according to The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment - DORA.

General information

Working at NTNU

NTNU believes that inclusion and diversity is our strength. We want to recruit people with different competencies, educational backgrounds, life experiences and perspectives to contribute to solving our social responsibilities within education and research. We will facilitate for our employees’ needs.

NTNU is working actively to increase the number of women employed in scientific positions and has a number of resources to promote equality.  

The city of Trondheim is a modern European city with a rich cultural scene. Trondheim is the innovation capital of Norway with a population of 200,000. The Norwegian welfare state, including healthcare, schools, kindergartens and overall equality, is probably the best of its kind in the world. Professional subsidized day-care for children is easily available. Furthermore, Trondheim offers great opportunities for education (including international schools) and possibilities to enjoy nature, culture and family life and has low crime rates and clean air quality.

As an employee at NTNU, you must at all times adhere to the changes that the development in the subject entails and the organizational changes that are adopted.

A public list of applicants with name, age, job title and municipality of residence is prepared after the application deadline. If you want to reserve yourself from entry on the public applicant list, this must be justified. Assessment will be made in accordance with current legislation . You will be notified if the reservation is not accepted.

If you have any questions about the position, please contact Professor Dag W. Breiby, telephone +47 73593594, email .. If you have any questions about the recruitment process, please contact Magnus Gautvik, e-mail:

If you think this looks interesting and in line with your qualifications, please submit your application electronically via with your CV, diplomas and certificates attached. Applications submitted elsewhere will not be considered. Upon request, you must be able to obtain certified copies of your documentation.  

Application deadline: 5 March 2023.

NTNU - knowledge for a better world

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) creates knowledge for a better world and solutions that can change everyday life.

Department of Physics

Our research and teaching are both experimental and theoretical, covering a wide range of disciplines. Our activities contribute to development of new medical technology and to finding solutions for the next generation’s communication technology, energy utilization and development of materials. The Department of Physics  is one of eight departments in the Faculty of Natural Sciences .

Deadline 5th March 2023
Employer NTNU - Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Municipality Trondheim
Scope Fulltime
Duration Temporary
Place of service

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