PhD position on MXene nanosheet electrocatalysts

University of Twente
March 24, 2023
Offerd Salary:€ 2.541
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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The ‘power-to-X' strategy aims at generating value-added chemicals and fuels through electrochemical conversion, for example by splitting water into O2 and H2 via the oxygen and hydrogen evolution reactions. This approach can generate climate-neutral fuel and sustainable chemical synthesis using renewable energy sources, effectively storing energy and coupling different sectors. For the underlying electrochemical reactions, electrocatalyst materials are required, which reduce the amount of energy needed to drive the reactions efficiently and to steer the product selectivity. These materials must be made of earth-abundant and safe materials, and must be stable under reaction conditions. In the Inorganic Materials Science Group, we approach this fundamental research question through a special materials-by-design approach and through novel characterization tools.

The key scientific questions for this PhD project revolve around a new class of two-dimensional materials, called MXenes , which promise high activity and selectivity for a multitude of reactions. MXenes are 2D carbides and nitrides that can be synthesized through wet etching of MAX phases (transition metal carbides or nitrides with layers of “A-elements” (groups 13 and 14 in the periodic table)), followed by transfer to arbitrary substrates. MXenes have the general formula M n +1X n T x , where M is an early transition metal, X is C or N, and T is a surface termination functional group. We will investigate, e.g., Ti3C2T x and Mo2CT x.

As is the case for most electrocatalyst materials, the properties of the MXene surface during operation are unknown. But these properties dictate the reactivity, hampering materials design and exploitation for energy transformation and storage and chemical synthesis because predictive power is limited. We aim to overcome this lack in understanding using newly-developed interface-sensitive spectroscopies that probe the surface composition and electronic structure under reaction conditions (“ operando ”). Only with such interface-sensitive operando information can we fully understand the underlying reaction mechanisms and devise much-needed prescriptive design rules.

The research will be pursued by one PhD student at the University of Twente, in close collaboration with a team of researchers pursuing development of operando, interface-sensitive X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The PhD student will be supervised Asst. Prof. Chris Baeumer and Prof. André ten Elshof with the four-eye-principle of the Twente Graduate School.

Your profile
  • You are a highly motivated, enthusiastic, and self-driven researcher (F/M/D).
  • You have a MSc degree in Chemistry, Physics, Materials Science or equivalent, with excellent experimental skills.
  • You have a keen interest in Materials Science, Electrochemistry and bridging Chemistry and Physics.
  • You have strong analytical skills and can interpret complex data in a broader scientific context.
  • You are fluent in English.
  • Our offer

    You will be appointed on a fulltime position for 4 years, with a qualifier in the first year, within a very stimulating scientific environment. The university offers a dynamic ecosystem with enthusiastic colleagues. Salary and conditions are in accordance with the collective labor agreement for Dutch universities.

  • Monthly salary ranging from € 2.541,- gross at the start to € 3.247,- gross in the 4th year.
  • Excellent benefits including a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary, an end-of-the-year bonus of 8.3% and a solid pension scheme.
  • A training program in which you and your supervisors will make a plan for additional suitable education and supervision.
  • As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the Twente Graduate School.
  • We encourage a high degree of responsibility and independence, but also stimulate interaction and discussion with colleagues.
  • Information and application

    For more information, please contact Dr. Chris Baeumer ([email protected]). You can apply by clicking on the button below "Apply now".

    The application should include a motivation letter emphasizing your research interest and motivation to apply for this PhD position, a detailed CV, contact details of at least 2 referees, an academic transcript of BSc. and MSc. education and a TOEFL or IELTS score to verify sufficient mastering of the English language. An interview will be part of the selection procedure.

    About the department

    IMS is a research group devoted to thin film growth studies, (nano)structuring techniques, and properties of complex materials, in particular oxides. It includes materials with diverse properties, like ferroelectrics, ferromagnetics and multiferroics, piezo's, high-K dielectrics, transparent conducting oxides, non-linear optical materials, ion conductors, superconducting and related materials, and anti-reflection coatings. Its research field is focussed on thin films with modified properties by doping or by artificial layered structures and superstructures. Applications are found in, e.g., nano-electronics and spintronics, optical systems, fuel and solar cells, fluidics, bio-nano sensors.

    In the group headed by Chris Baeumer, we investigate electrochemical materials for energy conversion, such as electrocatalysts for water splitting to generate green hydrogen. Our central approach is to fabricate electrocatalyst model systems and new materials with well-defined and improved surface and interface properties. We develop and employ new operando spectroscopy tools to understand the details of electrochemical reactions at the solid/liquid interface and derive design rules for more efficient electrocatalysts to support the energy transition through clean energy storage and sustainable synthesis of chemicals.

    About the organisation

    The Faculty of Science & Technology (Technische Natuurwetenschappen, TNW) engages some 700 staff members and 2000 students in education and research on the cutting edge of chemical technology, applied physics and biomedical technology. Our fields of application include sustainable energy, process technology and materials science, nanotechnology and technical medicine. As part of a people-first tech university that aims to shape society, individuals and connections, our faculty works together intensively with industrial partners and researchers in the Netherlands and abroad, and conducts extensive research for external commissioning parties and funders. Our research has a high profile both in the Netherlands and internationally and is strengthened by the many young researchers working on innovative projects with as doctoral candidates and post-docs. It has been accommodated in three multidisciplinary UT research institutes: Mesa+ Institute, TechMed Centre and Digital Society Institute.

    Want to know more? Baeumer, C. (Chris)

    Assistant Professor

    Baeumer, C. (Chris)

    Assistant Professor

    Do you have questions about this vacancy? Then you can contact Chris for all substantive questions about this position and the application procedure. For general questions about working for the UT, please refer to the chatbot.



    Email:[email protected]

    How to apply Step 1

    Apply. When you see a vacancy that appeals to you, you can apply online. We ask you to upload a CV and motivation letter and/or list of publications. You will receive a confirmation of receipt by e-mail.

    Step 2

    Selection. The selection committee will review your application and you will receive a response within 2 weeks after the vacancy has been closed.

    Step 3

    1st interview. The 1st (online or in person) meeting serves as an introduction where we introduce ourselves to you and you to us. You may be asked to give a short presentation. This will be further explained in the invitation.

    Step 4

    2nd interview. In the second interview, we will further discuss the job content, your skills and your talents.

    Step 5

    The offer. If the conversations are positive, you will be made a suitable offer.

    Your Colleagues
  • Steenbergen, W. (Wiendelt)
  • Personal page

  • Pizzoccaro - Zilamy, M.D. (Marie-Alix)
  • Personal page

  • Vargas Llona, L.D. (Laura)
  • Personal page

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