PhD-student: Plasmonic light management for a novel flow chemistry micro reactor

Date posted January 23, 2023
Type PhD positions

The Hybrid Nanosystems group at NWO-Institute AMOLF is looking for a PhD candidate on plasmonic light management inside a novel micro reactor for flow chemistry. The project is part of the European reaCtor consortium, which aims at designing and fabricating a novel micro reactor for sustainable flow chemistry. The consortium combines expertise in optical fiber design and fabrication (Institute of Quantum Optics at Leibniz University Hannover in Germany and Institute of Microelectronics and Photonics in Poland), laser structuring of glass materials (Light-Matter interactions and Extreme-Applications Photonics Lab at University of La Laguna on Tenerife in Spain) and flow chemistry (Noël research group at the University of Amsterdam).

This PhD project contributes to the novel micro reactor by augmenting it with plasmonic metal nanoparticles (NPs). Plasmonic NPs display strong absorption and scattering properties with local electromagnetic field enhancements up to hundreds of times the incident field intensity. The unique properties of metal NPs will be used to enhance the effective optical cross-section of the photocatalysts inside the reactor and may additionally contribute to the chemical reaction through localized heating and hot electron transfer. Within the project, you will carefully design the plasmonic NPs to match the fibre boundary parameters and reactions with the help of electromagnetic simulations. You will confirm this experimentally with a mimicked fibre system, where the NPs are deposited on fused silica substrates. For the experimental realization, you will use different surface functionalization concepts that immobilize the NPs on fused silica substrates. In-situ optical spectroscopy will be then used to track the stability of immersed NPs in the reaction liquid under realistic illumination. Ex-situ electron microscopy will be correlated to discover possible degradation mechanisms. The photothermal stability will be improved by surface coatings such as silica. At the end of the project, the gained knowledge will be transferred to the micro reactor and you will conduct tests to identify the density distribution of the NPs along the fibre and efficiency of excitation by a combination of optical scattering and electron microscopy. In doing so, you will contribute to a novel type of light-driven chemical reactor, which will significantly reduce the energy consumption of catalytic processes in combination with an enormous scale-up potential.

This project will be in close collaboration with the other consortium partners, including consortium researchers at Dr. Alarcón Lladó’s group at AMOLF and Prof. Noël’s group at the UvA, and you will be part of all consortium activities such as symposia, workshops, and mutual visits.  

About the group

You will perform this research in the Hybrid Nanosystems research group headed by Wiebke Albrecht at AMOLF. The Hybrid Nanosystems group combines single-particle optical and advanced electron microscopy to answer fundamental questions about the complex interaction between different classes of nanomaterials. We also explore new architectures for creating functional and smart hybrid nanosystems.

AMOLF performs leading research on the fundamental physics and design foundations of natural and man-made complex matter, with research in 3 interconnected themes: sustainable energy materials, information in matter, and autonomous matter. AMOLF leverages these insights to create novel functional materials, and to find solutions to societal challenges in renewable energy, green ICT, and health care. AMOLF is one of the NWO-I national research institutes located at the Amsterdam Science Park, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. It has approximately 130 scientists and a total size of ca. 200 employees. Furthermore, it hosts the Amsterdam NanolabNL clean room, which is part of the national NanoLabNL cleanroom network. See also www.amolf.nl

Qualifications

We are looking for a highly motivated candidate with a background in physics, chemistry or related fields and strong social, organizational and communication skills as well as an interest in plasmonics. Excellent verbal and written English skills are essential. You will need to meet the requirements for an MSc-degree, to ensure eligibility for a Dutch PhD examination.

Terms of employment

The position is intended as full-time (40 hours / week, 12 months / year) appointment in the service of the Netherlands Foundation of Scientific Research Institutes (NWO-I) for the duration of four years, with a starting salary of gross € 2,590 per month and a range of employment benefits. After successful completion of the PhD research a PhD degree will be granted at a Dutch university . Several courses are offered, specially developed for PhD-students. AMOLF assists any new foreign PhD-student with housing and visa applications and compensates their transport costs and furnishing expenses.

Contact info

Prof.dr. Wiebke Albrecht
Group leader Hybrid Nanosystems
E-mail: w.albrecht@amolf.nl
Phone: +31 (0)20-754 7100

You can respond to this vacancy online via the button below.
Please annex your:
–  Resume;
–  Motivation on why you want to join the group (max. 1 page).

It is important to us to know why you want to join our team. This means that we will only consider your application if it entails your motivation letter.
Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis and as soon as an excellent match is made, the position will be filled. The starting date of the project is April 1st 2023. 

Online screening may be part of the selection.

AMOLF is highly committed to an inclusive and diverse work environment. Hence, we greatly encourage candidates from any personal background and perspective to apply.

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