PhD scholarship in Measuring the Catalytic Activity of a Single Nanoparticle under Real Reaction Conditions

tirsdag 08 okt 19

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Frist 28. oktober 2019
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The European Research Council (ERC) has granted a five-year project, Atomic Insight Cavity Array Reactor, (ATOMICAR) with the aim to finally start to answer the ultimate question in nanoparticle catalysis:

How, in atomic detail, does the catalytic reaction happen on the nanoparticles?

In order to address this question experimentally, it is necessary to quantitatively measure the catalytic conversion of single, isolated nanoparticle under relevant reaction conditions which requires an unprecedented sensitivity of about 1000 chemical turnovers/s or better. This goal will be achieved via indirect measurement of the reaction rate in a “cavity array reactor chip” which you will fabricate.

You will be part of a dedicated team working towards this goal. 

Your main task will be to design, build and operate a scanning laser system for fast, parallel measuring on a cavity array reactor chip. You will use this setup to measure catalytic activity of multiple isolated nanoparticles inside the chip and compare their activity under identical reaction conditions.

The work will be headed by Professor Peter C.K. Vesborg and will mostly be carried out at DTU-Physics is in the section for Surface Science and Catalysis (Surfcat), but some of the work will be done at DTU-Danchip and CEN (DTU’s facilities for MEMS fabrication and electron microscopy).


  • You recently got (or are close to getting) a master degree in physics, engineering, or similar field with outstanding results. 
  • You are an experimentalist - with a solid theoretical understanding of physics and physical chemistry as evidenced by excellent grades in relevant courses. 
  • You also have a keen interest in catalysis, and a passion for “pushing the limits” of what is experimentally possible. 
  • You are hard-working, highly motivated, and you are a team player - because ATOMICAR is a team effort. You will be working closely with the other ATOMICAR team members on a daily basis. 
  • Hands on experience with clean-room work (MEMS fabrication) and TEM is a clear advantage. 
  • Experience with Ultra High Vacuum systems is a bonus. 
  • Excellent written and spoken English skills are mandatory.


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.

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 an 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 with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years and must start no later than January 2020.

You can read more about
career paths at DTU here

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Professor Peter C.K. Vesborg, tel.: +45 4525 3276,  

You can read more about Surfcat on and the department of physics on

Please submit your online application no later than 28 October 2019 (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 in 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 (if you have graduated yet)
  • 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.

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.