Postdoc in X-ray Imaging of Plant Microstructures

Monday 15 Nov 21

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Apply no later than 12 December 2021
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The Postdoc position is offered in the 3D Imaging Center that is part of the section Neutrons and X-rays for Materials Physics (NEXMAP) at DTU Physics, which focuses on gaining knowledge on fundamental properties of materials through experiments conducted at neutron and X-ray facilities around the world. Development of instruments, software for virtual experiments, and novel data analysis methods play a key role in this effort.

Today, we are wasting valuable resources when we fertilise our fields to grow crops, because  most of the delivered nutrients are immobilised  in the soil or washed into the aqueous environment. In a new large cross-disciplinary research project funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation, a cross-disciplinary group of physicists, (biogeo)-chemist, plant biologist and materials scientist from the University of Copenhagen, McGill University and DTU, will develop a novel generation of biocompatible and sustainable nanoparticle based fertilizers with superior abilities to deliver nutrient to crops in a timely an and more efficient manner. To achieve this very ambitious goal we need to understand the architecture of the plants leaves in order to unravel the pathways controlling uptake and dissolution of nano-fertilizers. Moreover we need to determine how plants and the soil interact with the engineered nanoparticles.   

The goal of the present 3-year Postdoc position is to enable direct visualisation of nanoparticle distributions at the micro- to nanometre scale inside leaves. We will develop a laboratory phase-contrast instrument that enables us to visualise the leaf microstructure at ultrahigh resolution and to study how nanoparticles applied to the leaf surface will be incorporated and distributed inside the leaf and what their fate is over time.

Responsibilities and Qualifications
We are looking for a highly motivated and conscientious candidate, with a strong interest in cross-disciplinary science to work within the project “Biocompatible nanofertilizers for targeted delivery and programmed release of essential mineral ions in crops”. The main tasks of the candidate will be to

  • Participate in designing and construct a phase-contrast nanoCT instrument optimised for imaging of biomaterials
  • Test the performance of the instrument
  • Develop sample cell for in situ
  • Use X-ray tomography (microCT and nanoCT) to study the porosity of leaves of real crops and how nanoparticles are taken up by leaves. Hereunder analyse and quantify 3D data.
  • Write beamtime proposals, experimental reports and scientific articles
  • Take part in supervising students (from Bachelor to PhD level)
  • Collaborate with other scientists inside and outside our group

The successful candidates should have a PhD degree or equivalent in materials science, physics, chemistry or biology. The candidate should have/be

  • Demonstrated extensive qualifications in experimental X-ray tomography
  • Demonstrated qualifications in development of experimental equipment, preferably state-of-the-art tomography instrumentation
  • Experience with experimental work at the large facilities such as synchrotron facilities
  • Abilities to work in a cross-disciplinary team
  • Fluent in English both spoken and written.

It will be an advantage if the candidate has previous documented experience with imaging of biological materials.

The candidate should be self-motivated but also enjoy taking part in team work.

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 terms of employment
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 position is available from 1 January 2022 and has a duration of 3 years.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Senior Scientist Henning Osholm Sørensen, tel.: +45 5168 0494, e-mail:   

You can read more about the DTU Physics at

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark.  

Application procedure
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than Sunday 12 December 2021 (Danish 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:

  • Application (cover letter)
  • CV
  • Academic Diplomas (MSc/PhD)
  • List of publications

Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, disability, race, 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 12,900 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world.