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Two PhD positions on New Organic Materials for Environmental Sensor Technology

The research group Advanced Materials for Chemical Selectivity, part of the Laboratory of Organic Chemistry (Wageningen University, The Netherlands), is …

bijna 4 jaar geleden


Droevendaalsesteeg, Wageningen, Gelderland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur


The research group Advanced Materials for Chemical Selectivity, part of the Laboratory of Organic Chemistry (Wageningen University, The Netherlands), is looking for two highly motivated and ambitious PhD students. The group focuses on two research lines on the design and development of i) membrane-based separation strategies for water treatment, with a strong focus on the selective recovery of high-value waste materials, including phosphate, ii) electrical sensor platforms for the selective detection of analytes, mainly gases.
In our work chemical selectivity is key: selectivity to ions or molecules is achieved by synthesizing molecules with functional groups that allow for specific interactions with the species of interest. To integrate these organic materials with membranes, electrodes or sensor platforms we employ different surface chemistry strategies, including covalent attachment or deposition as a thin coating. Various electrochemical, (surface) spectrometric and imaging tools are used to characterize the as-prepared molecules and coated surfaces. While our research is primarily focussed on understanding the fundamentals of separation and detection schemes, we direct it towards topics that are of contemporary interest, mainly in the field of environmental challenges. Examples include the recovery of phosphate, the selective sodium removal from irrigation water and the detection of gases with industrial and/or environmental relevance like, e.g., COx, NH3, and volatile organic compounds.
We are now looking for two PhD students to design, synthesize, and characterize polymer-based porous materials and to integrate these new materials with sensor devices. This work is part of a recently funded NWO START-UP project.
Recent developments in the design and synthesis of polymer-based porous materials and their excellent performance in gas separation studies indicate that such materials are very promising for sensing applications. Porous organic frameworks (POFs) are of special interest: they do not only have a large surface area, they are also highly stable and have large chemical and structural possibilities. The focus of this project is on the integration of new functional POF coatings with sensors, on tuning their on-device selectivity and on understanding the detection mechanisms involved. To prepare the functional POF coatings, two approaches will be pursued: POF particles will be mixed with polymer matrices (PhD#1) and POFs will be grown in-situ from their molecular building blocks onto sensor surfaces (PhD#2).


PhD candidates require an MSc degree in Chemistry, Molecular (Life) Sciences or comparable curriculum. A strong background in organic chemistry (physical organic, synthetic organic, organic materials) as well as strong analytical and problem-solving abilities are essential. Hands-on experience with polymer or surface chemistry and electrochemistry is desired. Your ability to perform independent lab work, affinity for the collaborative nature of these projects, and good written and oral communication skills in English are crucial for their successful development.


We offer you a temporary position for a period of 1.5 years with extension of 2.5 years after successful evaluation. Gross salary per month €2222,- in the first year rising up to €2840,- per month in the fourth year.

We not only offer a competitive salary but also good (study) leave and a pension of the ABP Pension Fund.

Additional information

For more information about this position, please contact Dr Louis de Smet telephone number +31 317481268 and emailadres: louis.desmet@wur.nl, www.louisdesmet.nl, www.orc.wur.nl

For more information about the contractual aspects, please contact mrs Marjolijn Steffens, HR advisor, telephone number +31 317489882 , marjolijn.steffens@wur.nl

You can apply online at www.wur.nl/en/Jobs/Vacancies.htm. Vacancy is open until Aug 30, but candidate selection will start from July 5 onwards on the basis of all applications received until then.