PhD position; Stability and wettability of calcium carbonates by complex fluids

At the University of Twente (the Netherlands) within the MESA+ institute for nanotechnology a PhD position is available aimed at understanding physico- …

20 dagen geleden


Drienerlolaan, Enschede, Overijssel
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur
€ 2222 - € 2840 per maand


At the University of Twente (the Netherlands) within the MESA+ institute for nanotechnology a PhD position is available aimed at understanding physico-chemical aspects of the interaction of carbonate minerals with complex aqueous and non-aqueous fluids. We are interested in growth, dissolution, wettability, and adsorption phenomena in the context of enhanced oil recovery (EOR). The position is embedded in a larger program in collaboration with an industrial partner that involves in total 5 temporary researchers in Twente.

The PCF group is part of the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology, which offers advanced characterization and fabrication tools on the nanoscale as well as a stimulating environment with more than 250 PhD students working on various aspects of nanoscience and technology.

The research goal of the Physics of Complex Fluids (PCF) group is to understand and control the physical and chemical properties of solid-liquid interfaces across multiple scales ranging 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 a new project entitled: NanoCarbonate: Understanding Microscopic Adsorption and Macroscopic Wetting Properties of Carbonate-Electrolyte-Oil Systems in collaboration with an industrial partner we are looking for a PhD candidate:

"Stability and wettability of calcium carbonates by complex fluids"

The goal of the PhD project, is to get a better understanding of the role of aqueous ions and oil-dissolved polar organic molecules on the wetting of calcite as well as natural carbonate mineral surfaces. One of the challenges to be addressed is that ions can alter the substrate surface in different ways: dissolution and recrystallization, ad/desorption of ions, and desorption of organic compounds (in case of natural rock). Also adsorption at the oil/water interface can contribute to changes in contact angle. Given the enormous complexity of the natural rock and crude oil samples, the key challenge to be addressed in this project is to dissect the contributions of different components and identify the dominant factors at practically relevant elevated temperatures. This includes microscopy studies into the evolution of crystal morphology, leading also to a demarcation of the ‘chemical window’ in which the substrate remains stable. Contact angle and pendant drop measurements should reveal the (adsorption, desorption and self-assembly) processes at the different interfaces. Synthetic as well as natural calcium carbonates will be used and different oil compositions will be explored. The experiments will be assisted by microfluidics.


For this position we are searching for an ambitious candidate with an MSc or MEng degree in (physical) chemistry, (experimental) physics or chemical engineering. Existing knowledge on crystal growth, adsorption phenomena or wetting will be considered as an advantage. Considering the strongly collaborative nature of the project, we are looking for a team player with good communication skills. Further information can be found on the website: or by contacting Prof. Frieder Mugele (, Dr. Igor Siretanu ( or Dr. Michel Duits (m.h.g.duits @

Applications are welcome through the link below before August 12, 2018 and should include a specific motivation letter reflecting on the goal and challenges of the advertised project in relation to the interests and skills of the candidate as well as a detailed CV.

Due to the summer holiday it may take longer before you receive a response on your application.


We offer a very challenging fulltime position in an inspiring multidisciplinary and international environment. The university offers a dynamic ecosystem with enthusiastic colleagues in which internationalization is an important part of the strategic agenda.

  • The gross monthly salary starts with € 2222,- in the first year and increases to € 2840,- in the fourth year of your employment;
  • 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.


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