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Helm­holtz Zen­trum Ber­lin

Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB) investigates and develops materials for a sustainable energy supply of the future. For this purpose, we operate the synchrotron facility BESSY II as well as several core labs for investigating materials. BESSY II attracts users from all over the world with its unique experimental facilities. With approx. 1,200 employees, HZB is today one of the largest non-university research centres in Berlin.

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

Working field:

In the Department for Interface Design, we study the structure function relationship between the chemical and electronic surface and interface properties of thin-film layer stacks and the performance of energy conversion devices (e.g., catalysts, solar cells, and batteries). We are responsible for the synchrotron-based spectroscopy (XAS, XES, RIXS, PES, HAXPES) and the in-situ and operando characterization activities using photon-in - photon-out techniques in the Energy Materials In-situ Laboratory Berlin (EMIL). In addition, we operate a lab-based ultra-high vacuum (UHV) surface analysis tool and the HiKE (HAXPES) endstation at BESSY II. Furthermore, we exploit experimental setup at BESSY II and other international synchrotron facilities that allow to perform XPS measurement under (near) ambient pressure conditions.
Your doctorate will contribute to the planned CARE-O-SENE project, which focuses on the optimization of catalysts to enable highly efficient and sustainable fuel production. CARE-O-SENE’s goal is to advance the science-based development of Fischer-Tropsch (FT) catalysts. This project will enable a highly efficient and sustainable production of green aviation fuels, which are essential to transforming 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 planned 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.
Subject to funding, as a PhD student you will have the unique opportunity to work with an international and diverse team to drive research into aviation innovation.

Your Tasks

  • You gain an understanding of the structure as well as the relation to performance of novel FT catalysts. The goal is to correlate the chemical and electronic surface structure of the catalyst under gas mixtures (e.g., CO+H2) at elevated temperatures by using synchrotron-based ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron and absorption spectroscopies (AP‐XPS/XAS).
  • You investigate the metal‐promoter interaction, dynamics of the promoter and the long-term stability using elemental depth distribution of the catalyst, including the promoter(s), with changes in gas composition and temperature using AP‐XPS.
  • You participate in the discourse between our German and South African project partners.
  • You present and publish results at international conferences and workshops as well as in high-quality peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Requirements:

  • Diploma or master’s degree in (electro-) chemistry, physics, chemical engineer, or material science
  • In-depth knowledge in X-ray spectroscopies (in particular XAS or XPS) and (heterogeneous) catalysis
  • Ability to independently communicate and collaborate with our partners to organize sample exchange and measurement campaigns
  • Excellent command of English, additional German skills are advantageous
  • High level of intercultural competence and ability to work in a team

What we offer:

  • Work in one of the renowned non-university research institutions in Berlin
  • Research for a climate-friendly future in collaboration with notable partners from a wide range of industrial sectors and academic fields
  • Work/life balance
  • Flexible work hours with flexitime
  • 30 days paid leave
  • Comprehensive counselling services for family and career
  • Health management and company sports programmes
  • Financial support for public transport (Jobticket)
  • Continuing education opportunities
  • A company pension scheme (VBL)
  • Subject to funding, salary based on the Collective Agreement for the German Public Service TVöD Bund E13 (75%)

How to apply:

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 with the stages of your career, publications, 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 17.07.2022. 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.

Apply here