PhD scholarship in Atomic-Resolution Electron Microscopy of Nanoparticles for Catalysis

Wednesday 13 May 20

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PhD scholarship is available for experimental research in single nanoparticle catalysis within the new Center for Visualizing Catalytic Processes (VISION) at DTU Physics.

VISION strives at developing and applying a platform for visualizing catalytic nanoparticles and reactions at the atomic-level by combining cutting-edge atomic-resolution electron microscopy, micro-electro-mechanical-systems, nanoparticle synthesis and theoretical modelling. The interdisciplinary effort aims at relating the atomic-scale structure, dynamics and functions of single nanoparticles in the thermal catalysis and electrocatalysis needed to tackle the environmental challenge of our time.

Responsibilities and tasks
You will work quantitatively with atomic-resolution transmission electron microscopy (TEM) of single nanoparticles under catalytic reaction conditions. The work will include: 

  • establishing experimental TEM schemes using broad and focused electron beams for retrieving the three-dimensional atomic structure of single nanoparticles.
  • advancing TEM protocols for detecting the pristine state of nanoparticles by modulating the electron beam in space and time.
  • exploring atomic mechanisms governing the evolution of nanoparticles during catalysis.
  • applying atomic-resolution TEM in conjunction with novel cavity reactors for operando investigations of single nanoparticles under catalytic reaction conditions.
You will collaborate with VISION’s five faculty members and a group of PhD students, postdocs and international leading scientists all working at the technological edge of modern electron microscopy for advancing catalysis science. In close interplay with complementary functionality measurements and theoretical modelling, you will contribute to elucidating how single nanoparticles catalyze chemical reactions at the atomic-level.

Candidates should have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree.

We favor candidates with a degree in physics, chemistry or materials science. The candidate should preferably have experience in solid state physics, crystallography and atomic-resolution electron microscopy. Experience in scientific programming, e.g. using Python, is an advantage.

The candidate has obtained excellent grades in his/her Bachelor and Master educations, good communication skills in both spoken and written English, and experience in working independently and in a team. 

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 applications will be made by Associate Professor Christian D. Damsgaard and Professor Stig Helveg, DTU Physics.

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.

Experimental work will be conducted at DTU Physics, DTU Nanolab and Haldor Topsoe A/S (Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark) and as well as at affiliated laboratories abroad.

You can read more about
career paths at DTU here

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Associate Professor Christian D. Damsgaard, e-mail:, and Professor Stig Helveg, email:

You can read more about DTU Physics at

Please submit your online application no later than 15 June 2020 (23:59 local 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)
Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master's degree but cannot begin before having received it.

Applications and enclosures received after the deadline will not be considered.

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

DTU Physics
At DTU Physics, we carry out cutting-edge research in modern physics, with particular focus on four main areas: quantum technology, sustainable energy, materials, and biophysics. Our focus is both to acquire greater knowledge about basic scientific problems and to conduct research oriented towards use in societies and companies.

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 11,500 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. Our main campus is in Kgs. Lyngby north of Copenhagen and we have campuses in Roskilde and Ballerup and in Sisimiut in Greenland.