PhD position: Synthesis, Catalytic Applications and Structure-Activity Studies of Two-Dimensional Carbides (MXenes) with Isolated Dopant Single Sites
The Laboratory of Energy Science and Engineering (D-MAVT) is working actively on processes to convert carbon dioxide, methane and other small molecules and light hydrocarbons into value-added fuels and chemicals. We develop catalysts with controllable properties and apply detailed characterization techniques to identify the active phases and sites, deactivation mechanisms and reaction pathways. Ultimately, this information shall aid the rational design of more active and selective catalysts.
The current PhD position is supported by the ETH Research commission through the grant to Dr. Alexey Fedorov (principal investigator).
The objective of the current research program is to develop two-dimensional (2D) metal carbide catalysts of the MXenes family and exploit these well-defined model systems to elucidate their active sites, reaction mechanisms and selectivity-determining factors in syngas conversion processes such as syngas-to-olefins and syngas-to-alcohols, viz. reactions related to the Fischer-Tropsch process that is realized on the industrial scale. The substitution of host metal sites by dopant sites at low dopant concentrations will yield isolated single sites of the dopant in the MXene lattice (solid solution). Such model 2D carbides will be studied in the FT process in the form of a multi-layer catalyst with narrow pore sizes (ca. 0.7 nm size) as well as after dispersion of individual delaminated nanosheets on appropriate supports, in order to maximize metal utilization. The main characterization techniques applied will be X-ray absorption and emission spectroscopy and X-ray scattering, such as pair distribution function (PDF) analysis, using both synchrotron based and benchtop instruments, DRIFTS and XPS.
This PhD program offers (and ultimately requires) fundamental understanding and proficiency in the mentioned characterization techniques as well as good command of solid state synthesis and heterogeneous catalysis. The candidate will apply these characterization tools to address relevant questions towards establishing structure-performance relationships in MXenes catalysts.
Applicants for this position are expected to have a MSc degree in Chemistry or Material Science. Experience in material synthesis, heterogeneous catalysis and/or material characterization is highly desirable. We are looking for highly motivated, committed, and creative individuals, who are able to work in a team and have excellent communication skills in English, both oral and written. Working in a top-level research environment with advanced laboratory infrastructure, the candidate will have a unique opportunity to develop their research abilities. The position is available from February 2020 onwards.
We look forward to receiving your online application including:
- A letter of motivation
- If available, two recommendation letters
Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.
Questions regarding the position and recommendation letters should be directed to Dr. Alexey Fedorov by email firstname.lastname@example.org.