Doctoral Student 

Website HZBde Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin

Reference no: CE 2022/32

Doctoral Student (f/m/d) for the Investigation of Novel Catalysts for Sustainable Aviation Fuels under Operating Conditions by Synchrotron-Based X-Ray Spectroscopies

The Institute for Solar Fuels at the HZB develops new materials and devices for the photoelectrochemical conversion of cheap and abundant resources, such as water, to chemical fuels. Understanding structure-function relationships of thin films, nanostructured semiconductors, and catalysts is at the heart of these efforts. Our project will focus on the development and use of X-ray spectroscopic techniques to investigate structure-function relationships of catalytic systems. As a doctoral student, you will participate in the design and construction of a reaction cell dedicated to interrogating solid-gas interfaces of Fischer-Tropsch catalysts under dynamic conditions with synchrotron-based ambient pressure X-ray spectroscopies.

Your thesis work will contribute to the CARE-O-SENE “Catalyst Research for Sustainable Kerosene” project, which focuses on the optimization of catalysts to enable highly efficient and sustainable aviation fuel production. Among CARE-O-SENE’s goals is to advance the science-based development of Fischer-Tropsch (FT) catalysts. This project will enable highly efficient and sustainable production of aviation fuel, which is essential for the transformation of the aviation sector. Through CARE-O-SENE, key German and South African companies and research institutes are building new, long-term strategic partnerships. In this lighthouse project of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), all project partners contribute their expertise in the development, testing, and commercialization of catalysts.

CARE-O-SENE is jointly driven by seven partners: Sasol Ltd, Sasol Germany GmbH, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB), Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems (IKTS), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), University of Cape Town – Department of Chemical Engineering (UCT), and INERATEC GmbH.

Your Tasks

  • You will gain an understanding of the structure and chemical composition of novel Fischer-Tropsch catalysts and its relationship to catalytic performance
  • You will correlate the chemical and electronic surface structure of the catalyst under varying gas composition at elevated temperatures by using synchrotron-based ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron and absorption spectroscopies (AP‐XPS/XAS)
  • You will participate in the design and implementation of a reaction cell for investigating catalysts under dynamic conditions (e.g., gas composition and pressure cycling) at our AP-XPS/XAS end-station operating at BESSY II synchrotron
  • You will understand the role of promoters in tuning the electronic properties of the catalyst and its corresponding catalytic performance
  • You will present and publish results at international conferences/workshops and in high-quality peer-reviewed scientific journals

Your Profile

  • Diploma or master’s degree in chemistry, physics, or chemical engineering
  • Basic knowledge in X-ray spectroscopies (in particular XAS or XPS) and (heterogeneous) catalysis is necessary
  • Independent communication and collaboration with the partners to organize sample exchange and measurement campaigns
  • Excellent command of English, ideally additional German skills
  • High level of intercultural competence and ability to work in a team

Your Benefits at HZB

  • The work at a renowned and versatile research institution in Berlin
  • The opportunity to contribute together with researchers from all around the world to the development of renewable energies, energy stores and next-gen technologies for a climate-friendly future
  • The HZB supports a healthy work-life balance through flexible working hours, mobile working, and an internal advice center reconciling questions about balancing work and private life
  • You will have the opportunity to take advantage of internal and external qualification offers
  • A company health management system
  • Fixed term contract for 36 months. The salary is based on the Collective Agreement for the German Public Service (TVöD E13, 75%)
  • A company pension scheme (VBL)
  • Financial support for public transport (Jobticket)
  • A team that is looking forward to meeting you!

Fixed term contract for 36 months. The salary is based on the Collective Agreement for the German Public Service (TVöD-Bund).

How to apply

We ask you to enclose the following documents with your application:

  • Letter of motivation with a description of your research interests
  • Curriculum vitae outlining the stages of your career to date, publications to date, research experience and the contact details of at least two scientific references
  • Certificates and grades

We look forward to receiving your application via our application management system by 05.02.2023. For reasons of data protection regulations, we are unfortunately unable to consider applications that reach us by email or by mail in the application process.

We strive to increase the proportion of female employees and are therefore particularly pleased to receive applications from women. Disabled applicants with equal aptitude are given preference.

For German version, please click on the following link: German Version.

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