PhD scholarship in Advanced Carbon Micro- and Nanofabrication for Electrochemical Energy Systems

Monday 19 Jul 21

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Apply no later than 8 August 2021
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Are you an engineer motivated by challenging tasks in micro- and nanofabrication? Are you keen on advancing research in miniaturized integrated devices for energy harvesting and storage? We are looking for a skilled PhD candidate to develop novel strategies for highly integrated 3D carbon micro- and nanoelectrodes as part of the project ‘Pyrolytic Hierarchical Organic Electrodes for sustaiNable Electrochemical Energy Systems (PHOENEEX)’, which is funded by an European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant. The overall vision of PHOENEEX is to develop sustainable electrochemical energy systems. In this context, you will work in close collaboration with several researchers in an interdisciplinary team.

You will be affiliated with DTU Nanolab, where we conduct cross-disciplinary research and apply micro- and nanotechnology to a wide range of scientific disciplines and applications. The Biomaterial Microsystems group is a highly ambitious group, pursuing research on microfabrication of 3D polymer and carbon structures and devices and their application in drug delivery, bioelectrochemistry and sustainable energy.

Responsibilities and qualifications
The overall vision of PHOENEEX is to develop a miniaturised biobattery. For this purpose, we will investigate novel approaches for the fabrication of 3D carbon microelectrodes (3DCMEs) with highly tailored material properties, large surface area and hierarchical architecture using pyrolysis. In this process, patterned polymer precursors are exposed to high temperatures (> 900 °C) in inert atmosphere (N2 or Ar) and converted into pyrolytic carbon. We will apply the 3DCMEs to i) improve the efficiency of energy harvesting in microbial fuel cells and ii) enhance temporal storage of the harvested energy in microsupercapacitors (µSC).

The specific aim of this PhD project is to implement and optimize novel strategies for cleanroom-based micro- and nanofabrication of 3DCME. Methods such as photolithography, deep reactive ion etching, plasma polymerization and pyrolysis will be investigated to maximize electrode surface area and minimize the distance between two terminals of interdigitated electrodes. The structural and electrical properties of the electrodes will be investigated and the electrochemical performance will be assessed. 

The fabricated 3DCME will be the “hard-ware backbone” for the project and their functionality will be evaluated in collaboration with other members of the project team.

Your primary tasks will be to:

  • plan and execute experimental research in the DTU Nanolab cleanroom facilities
  • develop and optimize novel processes for fabrication of 3D carbon electrodes
  • fabricate 3DCME with high electrode surface area and structural definition in the µm-range
  • perform structural, electrical and electrochemical characterization of the 3DCME
  • collaborate with an interdisciplinary research team in a focused scientific effort
  • contribute as teaching assistant at DTU Nanolab and supervise BSc and MSc student projects

You must have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) in micro- or nanoengineering, physics, mechanical engineering, material engineering or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree. You must have hands-on experience in micro- and nanofabrication. You are able to interact with researchers in a very interdisciplinary environment. A high grade average and excellent English language skills are decisive to be considered for the scholarship.  

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 the DTU PhD Guide

The assessment of the applicants will be made by Prof. Stephan Sylvest Keller, Prof. Henri Jansen and postdoctoral researcher Babak Rezaei (DTU Nanolab)

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. 

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Prof. Stephan Sylvest Keller,

You can read more about DTU Nanolab and the Biomaterial Microsystems 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.  

Application procedure
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 8 August 2021 (Danish time). 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
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)

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

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

DTU Nanolab is a common infrastructure and research facility located at and fully owned by the Technical University of Denmark, DTU. The core facilities consist of a large cleanroom and a state-of-the-art electron microscopy center inaugurated in 2007. The research activities carried out at DTU Nanolab span from nano- and microfabrication with Silicon-based materials, carbon and polymers to the highly sophisticated analysis of nanoscale materials in hard and soft matter. Since 2018, DTU Nanolab is extended to provide expertise in soft matter from small molecule complexes to biological cells. 

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 12,900 students and 6,000 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.