PhD scholarship in Atomic Scale Insight into Catalysis with Nanochannels and Microscopy

fredag 29 jul 22

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Frist 19. august 2022
Du kan søge om jobbet ved DTU Nanolab ved at udfylde den efterfølgende ansøgningsformular.

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Better catalysts will lead to a brighter future, and in this project you can help making them!

Today’s understanding of the industrially crucial heterogeneous catalytic processes is

limited by the fact that it is very challenging to assess the catalytic performance of an individual nanoparticle. Consequently, practically all our knowledge is based on measurements of the performance of nanoparticle ensembles in which the individual particle may have vastly different morphologies and surface chemistry. Hence, being able to measure structure-activity correlations of individual nanoparticle performance in converting one substance to another is a holy grail in catalysis,  and holds the key to both deepening our understanding of catalyst function and designing better catalyst materials.

Responsibilities and qualifications
In this PhD project, you will work with two leading research groups to combine their knowhow in nanochannel fluidic systems for electron and optical microscopy, and use such systems to study catalytic processes at the single nanoparticle level.

You will design, fabricate, and use new microchip systems and develop microscopy methods that will make it possible to obtain structure-activity correlations with atomic resolution at single nanoparticle level in catalysis. You will be employed at DTU Nanolab working with Prof. Kristian S. Mølhave in the Molecular Windows group, using DTU Nanolabs world class cleanroom microfabrication and electron microscopy facilities. We have developed unique nanochannel Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) systems that allow atomic level resolution electron microscopy of liquid and gas processes inside the system.

You will work to improve the system to provide TEM imaging capabilities while also having nanofluidic control and allowing measurements of catalytic processes that occur on single nanoparticles within the channels also by optical methods. Optical nanochannel measurements have been pioneered and will be developed further by Prof. Christoph Langhammers’ group at Chalmers University of Technology (CUT) in Sweden with whom you will closely collaborate. Both groups have years of experience in nanochannel systems and how to use them with electron and optical microscopy, respectively. Your task is to combine the knowhow of the two groups to create unprecedented capabilities for studying catalytic processes. This will require frequent travel to CUT in Göteborg which is a 3-hour journey from DTU.

You must have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree.

In this project you will be working in close collaboration with colleagues at DTU and CUT. All key skills can in principle be learnt in the project, but any previous experience will be beneficial for the following tasks that you will be working on:

  • Microfabrication: Design and microfabricate new nanochannel chips in the DTU Nanolab cleanroom, based on the existing electron microscopy nanochannel system developed at Mølhave’s research group.
  • Nanofluidics: Establish methods for controlled flow and trapping of nanoparticles in the system at specific locations, and methods to avoid adhesion in the rest of the nanofluidic system.
  • Transmission Electron Microscopy and Optical Microscopy/Spectroscopy to observe processes, develop microscopy system and methods.  We will also explore hyperspectral imaging in optical and TEM to assess how that might give added insight.
  • Analyze the images and results e.g. with Python.
  • Catalysis: Design and Perform liquid phase heterogeneous catalytic experiments at both DTU and CUT, analyze and model results, e.g. using finite element methods such as Comsol.

As a PhD student at DTU Nanolab you also participate in supervision of student projects and assist in teaching on topics related to your project.

We seek applicants that have demonstrated their ability to work both independently and in teams, and drive development in projects, as personal and interpersonal skills are essential to successfully complete this PhD project.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see DTU's rules for the PhD education.

The assessment will be made by the supervisor team consisting of main supervisor Prof. Kristian S. Mølhave (, co-supervisors Prof. Christoph Langhammer (CUT), Senior Sci. Shima Kadkhodazadeh, and Assist. Prof. Murat Yesibolati.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

Starting date is as soon as possible in 2022.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Kristian S. Mølhave, tel.: +45 25126672, e-mail:

You can read more about DTU Nanolab and the Molecular Windows Research group at

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark. Furthermore, you have the option of joining our monthly free seminar “PhD relocation to Denmark and startup “Zoom” seminar” for all questions regarding the practical matters of moving to Denmark and working as a PhD at DTU.

Application procedure
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 19 August 2022 (Danish time/CET).

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma (in English) including official description of grading scale
  • If possible recommendation letter(s) from reference persons and list of reference persons that can be contacted.

You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU Nanolab
The National Centre for Nano Fabrication and Characterization in Denmark is at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). We provide access to a specially constructed facility for advanced electron microscopy and to 1500 m2 of cleanroom allowing state of the art processing to fabricate chips and devices for a large variety of applications. Our expertise is research based, with multiple research groups that focus on methods for imaging and characterization down to atomic resolution and on scalable nanofabrication technologies.

Technology for people
DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear vision to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That vision lives on today. DTU has 13,400 students and 5,800 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world.