PhD Position in Chemistry
ETH Zurich

PhD Position in Chemistry 

The solid-state NMR research group in the Departement of Chemistry and Applied Biosciences is looking for a PhD student on the topic of pulse-sequence optimization based on effective Hamiltonians. We are a small team working on theoretical aspects and methodological developments in solid-state NMR. Our work is mostly geared towards applications in biomolecular NMR trying to improve the understanding of pulse sequences and implementing new experiments.

Project background

Solid-state NMR is an important analytical technique to characterize structure and dynamics of biomolecules and materials. So far, pulse sequences have been implemented mostly based on analytical calculations of the spin dynamics. Based on recent theoretical developments in our group (publication 1, publication 2), we plan to use numerical optimization of effective Hamiltonians to generate new and more efficient pulse sequences in a way similar to the analytical approach used so far.

Job description

The PhD will focus on implementing numerical optimization strategies to design pulse sequences for high-resolution solid-state NMR under magic-angle spinning. The efficiency of such pulse-sequence elements is key for improving the sensitivity of NMR experiments. To obtain the best performance not only parameters of the spin systems but also experimental imperfections of the spectrometers have to be included in the modelling of the experiment. Such an approach will require:

  • Extending and improving an existing framework for optimizing pulse sequences based on effective Hamiltonian calculations
  • Numerical simulation of generated sequences to check their performance under a large range of experimental conditions
  • Implementing these sequences on commercial NMR spectrometers to check their experimental performance on model systems
  • Iterative improvements in the optimization tools to improve the performance of the generated sequences

The output of the PhD will be new pulse-sequence elements that can be used in applications of NMR in biological systems and material science.

Your profile

We are looking for a highly-motivated student who is interested in working on the intersection between Chemistry and Physics in a small interdisciplinary team. The position will require independence, perseverance and the willingness to acquaint yourself with new topics and methods.

You should:

  • Hold a master's degree in a relevant field, such as Chemistry, Physics, Engineering or similar
  • Have an excellent track record and meet the general admission requirements for a doctorate at ETH Zurich
  • Previous experience in solid-state NMR is a bonus but not a requirement
  • Be interested in the intersection between Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics
  • Be interested in theory, numerical simulations and experimental implementation of pulse sequences
  • Have experience with computer simulations and programming

We offer

ETH offers an exciting opportunity to work at the forefront of scientific research. Collaborations with other research groups are possible and attendance of international conferences in the field of NMR spectroscopy are encouraged. Upon completing the doctorate, the PhD student is awarded the title "Doctor of Sciences (Dr. sc. ETH Zurich)"

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We value diversity

In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our Equal Opportunities and Diversity website to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.

Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents in a single merged PDF document, titled with your last name and initials as well as the application date (for example, 20240301_DoeJane_application) in the following order:

  1. Cover letter with a description of your research achievements and research interests
  2. Detailed CV
  3. Transcripts of all degrees (English)
  4. Names and contact information of at least two references

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

Further information about our group can be found onour website. Questions regarding the position should be directed to Matthias Ernst under the email (no applications).

About ETH Zürich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.

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