As a PhD student you will develop and use AFM-based spectroscopy to nanoscopically characterize the interfaces between electrolyte, semiconductor- and cocatalyst-nanoparticles under photocatalytic operating conditions (e. g. in liquid, under applied bias and illumination) and to establish surface property-catalytic activity correlations. Atomic scale surface structure, charge density, hydration state and morphology are assessed using amplitude modulation AFM. To elucidate the catalytic performance at the nanoscale, conductive and electrochemical AFM will be used. These methods should reveal correlations between topographic and catalytic activity via current mapping, and identify the underlying charge transport mechanism via local IV-spectroscopy. The portfolio of AFM methods will give unprecedented access to fundamental mechanisms of photo-electrochemical performance at the nanoscale, revealing e.g. the role of the defects, crystal facets, and fluid composition. This information will be instrumental for understanding the macroscale photo-(electro)catalysis performance limitations and thereby guide the development of novel more efficient materials for the desired redox reactions, such as water splitting or CO2.
For this ambitious project, we are looking for well-motivated candidates with excellent academic skills. A Master's degree in physics is required. Knowledge and ‘hands on’ experiences in experimental physics, signal and data processing, colloid science, and a strong interest/experience in scanning probe microscopy and spectroscopy are considered highly advantageous. Some programming experience is also desirable (pre-existing experience of MATLAB and/or Python would be particularly useful). During this PhD you will learn and routinely utilize concepts related to electric double-layer theory, interaction force detection in scanning probe microscopy, charge transfer at semiconductor-electrolyte interfaces; processes associated with ion absorption and hydration structure. A strongly collaborative spirit is expected and good written and oral communication skills in English (minimally IELTS 6.5 or TOEFL 90) are required.
The terms of employment are in accordance with the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement for Universities (CAO) and include:
- A fulltime PhD position for four years, with a qualifier in the first year.
- The university offers a dynamic ecosystem with enthusiastic colleagues in a stimulating scientific environment.
- The PhD salary is € 2.541,- in the first year and increases to € 3.247,- in the fourth year.
- Full status as an employee at the UT, including pension and health care benefits.
- A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%.
- The number of holiday hours for full-time employment is 232 hours per calendar year.
- A personal development program within the Twente Graduate School.
- Excellent facilities for professional and personal development.
Bedrijfsprofiel Universiteit Twente
About the department
Our faculty focuses on three domains, namely Chemistry, Health, and Physics. We are the home base for the research institutes TechMed, MESA+, the Techno Centre for Education and Research TCO, and the Twente Graduate School TGS. TNW offers six Bachelor's and seven Master's programs in Health Sciences, Nanotechnology, (Applied) Physics, Chemistry, and Technical Medicine. Over 850 colleagues and 2,700 students are active within the faculty of Science & Technology.
In the Physics of Complex Fluids group at the University of Twente Enschede, The Netherlands, PCF, research is aimed to understand various behaviors of multicomponent fluids near interfaces.
About the organisation
The Faculty of Science & Technology (Technische Natuurwetenschappen, TNW) engages some 700 staff members and 2000 students in education and research on the cutting edge of chemical technology, applied physics and biomedical technology. Our fields of application include sustainable energy, process technology and materials science, nanotechnology and technical medicine. As part of a people-first tech university that aims to shape society, individuals and connections, our faculty works together intensively with industrial partners and researchers in the Netherlands and abroad, and conducts extensive research for external commissioning parties and funders. Our research has a high profile both in the Netherlands and internationally and is strengthened by the many young researchers working on innovative projects with as doctoral candidates and post-docs. It has been accommodated in three multidisciplinary UT research institutes: Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centre and Digital Society Institute.
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