PhD Position in Chemistry
Catholic University of Leuven
Belgium

(ref. BAP-2023-657)
The position is situated within the Department of Chemistry at KU Leuven University, one of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious academic institutions. The candidate will work under the supervision of Prof. Elke Debroye in state-of-the-art research facilities of the division of Molecular Imaging and Photonics. This interdisciplinary research is comprehensive, spanning from material development to detailed characterization and, finally, to the implementation in prototype X-ray detector devices. KU Leuven provides an ideal backdrop for this ambitious venture. The university hosts a plethora of science groups working on a wide array of subjects, both theoretical and applied. The splendid academic environment is complemented by the town itself – a medium-sized, vibrant student town with a rich history and diverse international community. This makes KU Leuven an excellent platform for interdisciplinary research collaborations and provides ample opportunities for academic growth and international networking.

Project

The growing demand for X-ray imaging requires sensitive X-ray detectors that allow the use of lower operational X-ray doses to decrease radiation-related health risks. Metal halide perovskites are semiconductor materials with outstanding optoelectronic properties, such as strong optical absorption over a broad energy range and good charge transport. These features turn them into excellent candidates for application in devices such as solar cells, light-emitting diodes, sensors, and (X-ray) photodetectors. However, the intrinsic instability induced by unwanted crystal defects in popular lead-based perovskites induce a rapid decrease in their performance and stability and hinder their large-scale device application. 
In this PhD, the focus is to rationally develop and process highly crystalline, X-ray sensitive lead-free perovskite materials through micromanaging their electronic structure by composition and dimensionality engineering. Tailoring their optoelectronic performance and stability will be guided by applying an arsenal of characterization techniques and spectroscopy platforms for the careful assessment of the structural and photophysical properties. This way, the factor(s) currently hindering their real-world application can be identified and suppressed in newly developed compounds, with the final goal to allow low-dose X-ray imaging. 
 

Profile

The candidate not only demonstrates academic excellence but also possesses qualities of innovative thinking, a collaborative spirit, and enthusiasm and dedication to the project. Specifically, the candidate should fulfill (most of) the following criteria:
 
- Educational Background: Hold a Master in Science in a relevant field, such as (Physical) Chemistry, Materials Science, or Nanoscience, with a focus on materials chemistry and characterization. 
- Technical Expertise: Have hands-on experience in the synthesis and processing of perovskite (micro)crystals, low-dimensional perovskite materials and/or hybrid structures (in glovebox). Proficiency in structural and optical characterization methods such as X-ray diffraction, absorbance and photoluminescence spectroscopy. Optoelectronic device engineering is considered a plus. 
- Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Openness and enthusiasm for interdisciplinary research that spans chemistry, physics, material science, and engineering. Ability to communicate effectively with scientists from various backgrounds, harness a multi-faceted approach to challenges.
- Soft Skills: A proactive approach to solve problems, create independent thinking and acting, while being an effective team member. Good written and oral English communication skills, including the ability to prepare manuscripts for international peer-reviewed journals and present research findings at international conferences.
- Adaptability: Willingness to adapt to new methodologies as the project evolves.
 

Offer

Funding is available for a 4-year PhD Research position, allowing you to focus on the research without the added pressure of securing external funding. Here are the specifics of the offer:
 
- Position Details: The position will commence in January 2024, but this is negotiable, depending on your availability and the eventual arranging of a residence permit. 
The initial appointment is for a one-year period, which will be extended in case of a positive evaluation based on research outcomes and performance.
- Opportunities for Career Advancement: Opportunity to work on pioneering research in the field of optoelectronic materials with real-world applications. 
Chance to collaborate with leading experts in closely connected fields, providing an enriching experience and excellent networking opportunities.
You will be encouraged to present your findings at national and international conferences, further enforcing your academic profile.
As a PhD researcher, you’ll have the chance to mentor master thesis students, contributing to their academic development as well as honing your own supervisory skills.
KU Leuven's vibrant academic community provides a supportive environment for research, with various interdisciplinary workshops, seminars, and courses to broaden your knowledge and skills.
- Work Environment: You will be joining a diverse, multidisciplinary team that values collaborative research. You will have access to state-of-the-art research facilities, including cutting-edge synthesis facilities and spectroscopic instruments.
 

Interested?

To ensure a fair evaluation process, all applicants are kindly requested to formally apply via the designated online platform. Applications submittedthrough other channels will not be considered.

 

Westrongly encourage candidates who meet the profile criteria to apply. Yourapplication should address the various criteria and competences mentioned in the 'Profile' section of this position. This can be done through a cover letter and CV. Please include details of your past studies, internships, M.Sc.thesis and any relevant research experience that align with the project objectives. Additionally,you need to submit an official test result showing your proficiency ofEnglish at a B2 level. This canbe concretely shown by submitting one of the following:

  • IELTS: minimal scores of 7 (General Score) and no subscores below 6.5
  • TOEFL: minimal scores of 94 (General Score) and no subscores below 22

 

Looking forward to your application andpossibly welcoming you to our team!

 

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Elke Debroye, tel.: +32 16 32 80 98, mail: elke.debroye@kuleuven.be.

You can apply for this job no later than November 15, 2023 via the
KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at diversiteit.HR@kuleuven.be.
  • Employment percentage: Voltijds
  • Location: Leuven
  • Apply before: November 15, 2023
  • Tags: Chemie
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