PhD Student

Last application date
May 01, 2020 23:59
WE04 - Department of Solid State Sciences
Employment category
Doctoral fellow
Limited duration
master of science degree in (engineering) physics, chemistry, chemical engineering or materials science (engineering)
Occupancy rate
Vacancy Type
Research staff

Job description

Today’s challenge for the chemical industry is ensuring sustainable supplies of fuels, chemicals and materials for a growing global population, while limiting global warming and climate change. Controlling the atmospheric CO2 level forms an inseparable part of this evolution. Catalytic technologies will play a pivotal role in addressing this challenge throughout the 21st century by enabling the utilization of alternative energy sources and feedstocks, mitigation of greenhouse gases, and pollution abatement. At the heart of these processes are efficient catalysts, which not only need to be active, but also highly selective, ideally reaching 100% selectivity, and stable.

Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) is an unparalleled nanoscale thin film deposition and surface functionalization method for nanotechnology applications. ALD offers atomic level thickness and compositional control as well as conformal coating of complex, 3D shaped surfaces; benefits that make it an attractive method for the atomic scale design of catalysts for CO2 conversion.

Job description

The work will be executed in the Conformal Coating of Nanomaterials (COCOON) research group at the Department of Solid State Sciences, Ghent University, Belgium ( The PhD candidate will develop ALD-based strategies for the atomic-scale design of CO2 conversion catalysts. This implies the deposition and characterization of metallic nanoparticles with well-defined size, shape and coverage and the selective overgrowth with ultrathin metal oxide overcoats to impact stability, activity and selectivity of the catalyst. He/she will use lab-based and synchrotron-based experimental techniques for structural characterization of the synthesized materials. This PhD topic is part of an FWO project in collaboration with the Laboratory for Chemical Technology (LCT) at UGent, and the PhD candidate will work together with the LCT for functional characterization of the materials. This PhD will provide hands-on experience of lab-based research in material sciences and catalysis, with opportunities to measure at synchrotron facilities abroad.

Profile of the candidate

The PhD candidate must hold a master of science degree in (engineering) physics, chemistry, chemical engineering or materials science (engineering), and show a strong interest in nanomaterials, catalysis and advanced surface analysis. The analysis of high-throughput data generated at the synchrotron will require a genuine interest in programming (Python). The degree should be obtained before the prospective starting date of September 1st, 2020. The PhD candidate should be fluent in English and have the strong intention to finish a PhD by the end of the 4-year project.

How to apply

You can apply via email to , using the subject line “Application FWO-ModelCat PhD”. Please provide a full CV including your academic/education history, experience with experimental work and programming, list of publications where applicable. Please also provide a motivation letter containing research interests, skills, career plans, reasons for applying for this program (1 or 2 pages), and the names of two references with contact details. For applicants from non-English speaking countries, please attach copies of recent English language certificates where available. The deadline for application is May 1st, 2020.