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PhD and Postdoc vacancies for physical chemistry of carbonate-electrolyte-oil interfaces

The research goal of the Physics of Complex Fluids group is understanding and controlling the physical and chemical properties of solid-liquid interfaces across multiple scales. This can range from atomic scale adsorption processes to macroscopic ...

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Drienerlolaan, Enschede, Overijssel
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur


The research goal of the Physics of Complex Fluids group is understanding and controlling the physical and chemical properties of solid-liquid interfaces across multiple scales. This can range from atomic scale adsorption processes to macroscopic chemical reactivity and wetting. The fundamental understanding that we generate is relevant to a variety of applications such as coating and printing technology, lubrication, (photo) catalysis, and oil recovery. To address the scientific questions we use a combination of experimental techniques including high resolution Atomic Force Microscopy, optical imaging techniques (confocal/fluorescence microscopy, interferometry, ellipsometry), Raman spectroscopy, microfluidics, (micro)rheology and various other analytical surface characterization tools.

For the new project called:

NanoCarbonate: Understanding Microscopic Adsorption and Macroscopic Wetting Properties of Carbonate-Electrolyte-Oil Systems

In collaboration with an industrial partner we are looking for 4PhD's and a Postdoctoral researcher. You will be working on the analysis of the properties of carbonate surfaces in contact with aqueous electrolytes of variable composition and the consequences of the electrolyte composition for the relative wettability of water and oil on the solid surface. Carbonate materials are abundant in nature and form a major part of the sediment rock on earth. Carbonates are one of the most important rock formations containing oil reservoirs. The efficiency of conventional oil recovery processes is rather poor, typically leaving between half and two thirds of the oil in the ground. To improve this situation, it is crucial to understand the relative adhesion of oil and water to carbonate minerals on the atomic scale and identify strategies how the minerals can be rendered more water wet in order to ease the release of oil. Our goal is to build up such understanding from basic principles. We aim to start with idealized model systems and at a later stage we would like to extend to more realistic complex fluids and surfaces.

In this project you will be working at the rare crossroad of fundamental science and industrial application. You will do this in a team of highly motivated and skilled scientists

  • PhD 1: Stability and wettability of calcium carbonates by complex brines and oil;
  • PhD 2: Local surface charge density and stability of carbonates-electrolyte interfaces studied by Atomic Force spectroscopy;
  • PhD 3: High resolution AFM visualization of adsorption and desorption reactions at calcite-electrolyte and calcite-oil interfaces;
  • PhD 4: Development of a high-pressure high temperature microfluidic chip for water-flooding oil recovery with integrated sensing capabilities (in collaboration with the Mesoscale Chemical Systems group; Prof. Han Gardeniers);
  • PD: Adhesion and chemical composition mapping on heterogeneous rock surfaces using confocal Raman and Atomic Force Microscopy.

For more information about the subprojects, please visit https://www.utwente.nl/en/tnw/pcf/vacancies/.


  • You hold a master degree, and you are experienced in physics, (physical/analytical) chemistry, mechanical or chemical engineering;
  • You are driven and skilled to do good research in the area of the project;
  • You like to work in a multi-disciplinary and international team;
  • You are fluent in English.

For more information about this vacancy you can contract Prof.dr. F.G. Mugele (f.g.mugele@utwente.nl).


We offer a very challenging fulltime position in an inspiring multidisciplinary and international environment. You will work in a dynamic ecosystem with enthusiastic colleagues. Internationalization is an important part of the strategic agenda of our University.

  • For the PhD positions the gross monthly salary starts with € 2222,- in the first year and increases to € 2840,- in the fourth year of your employment;
  • For the postdoc position your gross monthly salary depends on qualifications and ranges from € 3111.- to € 4084.-; -
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%;
  • A solid pension scheme;
  • Minimum of 29 holidays in case of full-time employment;
  • Professional and personal development programs.


The University of Twente. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Education and research that matter. New technology which leads change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university of the Netherlands; divided over five faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. We have a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out groundbreaking research.

We are an equal opportunity employer and value diversity at our company. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability status. Because of our diversity values we do particularly support women to apply.

Within the TNW Faculty (Faculty of Science & Technology) of the University of Twente some 700 staff members and 2000 students are involved in training and research on the interface of chemical technology, applied physics and biomedical technology. Fields of application include sustainable energy, process technology and materials science, nanotechnology and technical medicine. Research, which enjoys a high profile both at home and internationally, has been accommodated in the multidisciplinary research institutes MESA+ and MIRA. The faculty works together intensively with industrial partners and researchers in the Netherlands and abroad and conducts extensive research for external commissioning parties and funders.