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PhD position: Unlocking Ultrafast Spectroscopy to Observe Catalytic Conversions

A holy grail in the field of catalysis is to obtain exact insight in the reaction mechanism such that we can design more effective catalysts. This is more …

3 maanden geleden


Van der Maasweg, Delft, Zuid-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur
€ 2222 - € 2840 per maand


A holy grail in the field of catalysis is to obtain exact insight in the reaction mechanism such that we can design more effective catalysts. This is more important than ever as we need to transfer to sustainable energy, and produce useful chemical and materials from a sustainable feed stock. Exact insight in the reaction mechanism will enable this revolution in chemistry.

So far, heterogeneous catalysis can only be followed on time scales that are too slow to detect the actual conversion of reactants: the bond breaking and forming and the intermediate species. The limitation is the speed by which a reaction can be turned on (for example via a rise in temperature or via addition of reactants). In this project you will use a method to generate heat extremely fast namely at the picosecond time scale by the use of femtosecond pulses of light. You will show that you can use this method, in an adapted pump-probe spectroscopy scheme, to gather spectra on the picosecond to microsecond time scale after kickstarting the reaction. You will benchmark the method with a test reaction (hydrogenation by supported Platinum). Specifically, you will gather ultrafast mid-infrared and X-ray absorption spectra, as they provide the most information on the intermediate chemical species. The goal is to actually 'see' the bondbreaking, the bond forming and the subsequent formation of different intermediate species.


The candidate must hold a MSc. degree in Chemistry or Physics or equivalent. The candidate must have a keen interest in bridging physics and chemistry. The candidate must have a keen interest in moving the edge of knowledge via achieving a new measurement paradigm, as well as a keen interest in the interpretation of complex, experimental data.


TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit www.tudelft.nl/phd for more information.

For more information about this position, please contact Dr. Monique van der Veen, phone: +31 15-2786458, e-mail: m.a.vanderveen@tudelft.nl. To apply, please e-mail a detailed CV and a BSc and MSc grade list along with a letter of application detailing your motivation by 7 July 2018 to Ms. C. Monna, e-mail: c.monna@tudelft.nl.
When applying for this position, please refer to vacancy number TNWCE18-037.