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PhD Thesis Student

The ESRF is looking for a PhD thesis student in the area of dynamics of supported metal nanoparticles in liquid phase catalysis

  • Closing date: 16 Aug 2021
  • France | European Synchrotron Radiation Facility
  • Date posted: 16 Jun 2021
  • Job type: Academic: PhD/MSc
  • Disciplines: Materials science  | Optics, lasers & photonics 
The European Synchrotron, the ESRF, is an international research centre based in Grenoble, France.
Through its innovative engineering, pioneering scientific vision and a strong commitment from its 700 staff members, the ESRF is recognised as one of the top research facilities worldwide. Its particle accelerator produces intense X-ray beams that are used by thousands of scientists each year for experiments in diverse fields such as biology, medicine, environmental sciences, cultural heritage, materials science, and physics.
Supported by 22 countries, the ESRF is an equal opportunity employer and encourages diversity.
You will join beamline ID15A and collaborate with Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI), University of Torino (UniTO) and their industrial partner (Chimet s.p.a) on the study of dynamic structural phenomena in catalysts during liquid phase reactions. You will be based at ESRF and visit PSI and UniTO on a flexible schedule for research and teaching activities. UniTO will grant the doctoral degree. ID15A is a state-of-the-art X-ray diffraction and imaging beamline with a long-standing interest in catalysis and energy materials.
The project concerns the dynamic behaviour of supported metal nanoparticles in liquid phase catalysis, with a focus on nanoscale structure and sub-second kinetics. The main goals are i) a detailed understanding of the factors controlling activity, selectivity, and stability of wet nanoparticle catalysts, ii) the development of a methodology based on in situ/operando X-ray and infrared experiments (diffraction, total scattering, absorption, ATR-IR) to obtain multimodal, real-time insight on structural effects under realistic catalytic conditions.
You are encouraged to develop your own concepts and communicate scientific results of the PhD project. Tasks will include preparing beamtime proposals, performing experiments, interpreting chemical and structural data, and developing methods and setups, all of which in collaboration with other researchers. Activities may also include undergraduate teaching and scientific outreach.
Further information may be obtained from Stefano Checchia (, Elena Groppo (, Davide Ferri (
  • Degree allowing enrollment for a PhD (such as MSc, Master 2 de Recherche, Laurea or equivalent) in chemistry, physics, or materials science.
  • Interest in heterogeneous catalysis and in-situ X-ray characterisation methods.
  • Ability to interact with staff at all levels in multiple environments.
  • Technical skills, e.g. lab techniques, assembling and testing instruments.
  • Experience in X-ray diffraction and spectroscopy or other techniques (IR, NMR, Raman) is desirable.
  • Data analysis skills, including programming, are desirable.
  • Proficiency in English (working language at the ESRF).
Contract of two years renewable for one year.
We offer a comprehensive benefits package designed to support your quality of life and your installation in the Grenoble area when relocation is needed.
The monthly salary may be complemented by additional allowances upon eligibility (expatriation allowance, etc.)

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