PhD position - Catalytic removal of nitrogen monoxide, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons

Context & Job description

The ESRF beamline ID26 is dedicated to X-ray absorption and emission spectroscopy. We study the electronic structure and local coordination in systems that are relevant in the applied sciences (materials science, coordination (bio)chemistry, (bio)catalysis, mineralogy and earth sciences). The beamline hosts unique instrumentation for advanced X-ray spectroscopies and thus provides state-of-the-art research possibilities. This PhD project will be realized in collaboration with the Exhaust-Gas Center at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and a company active in the field of automotive exhaust aftertreatment. The objective is the synthesis, testing and in-depth characterization of noble metal based exhaust gas aftertreatment catalysts. Catalyst preparation and testing will be conducted at KIT while an element-specific study of the electronic structure and local coordination will be achieved by photon-in/photon-out spectroscopy at the ESRF. In particular, the student will develop in-situ cells suitable for X-ray spectroscopic studies in the X-ray energy range 2-5 keV (tender X-rays). ID26 recently commissioned a tender X-ray spectrometer with the world-wide highest efficiency for such studies.

Further information may be obtained from Pieter Glatzel (tel.: +33 (0)4 76 88 29 68, email: and from Maria Casapu (tel. +49 721 608 43192, email:

Expected profile

  • Excellent or very good degree allowing enrollment for a PhD (such as MSc, Master 2 de Recherche, Laurea or equivalent) in physics, materials science, chemistry or closely related science
  • Demonstrated interest and self-motivation in heterogeneous catalysis / materials characterization, together with ability to think analytically and creatively
  • Manual skills and rigorous attention to detail are essential in this work environment
  • Strong interest in spectroscopy and the theory of electronic structure
  • Proficiency in English (A proof of upper-intermediate level must be included in the application. Applicants  originating  from  native-English-speaking  countries  can  apply  without  the  need  for  proof  of level. An official degree conducted in English will be also accepted as a proof).
  • Good organizational skills, independent and self-responsible working
  • Compliance with the Marie Sklodowska-Curie mobility rule: candidates may not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in France for more than twelve months in the three years immediately before the date of recruitment.
  • At the date of recruitment, early-stage researchers must be in the first four years of their research careers and have not yet been awarded a doctoral degree.
  • Candidates must satisfy the conditions for enrollment in a doctoral program at KIT

More details about the application procedure on

Working conditions

The successful candidate will be enrolled in the doctoral school at the Faculty of Chemistry and Biology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and based full-time at the ESRF (Grenoble, France), other than a 9-month secondment to KIT and a 3-month secondment to Umicore. Furthermore, a varied pedagogical training program will be offered to the successful candidate throughout the 3-year PhD project.

More details on the InnovaXN programme on

Company description

InnovaXN is a Horizon 2020 MSCA COFUND programme providing an opportunity for 40 industrial companies to work with 40 PhD students, performing advanced research and exploiting the unique characterisation techniques of the ESRF and ILL. Through collaborations with industry, innovation will be the central theme of the programme. This will provide a unique cross academic-industry science setting, secondment opportunities and society-relevant research, training the future key researchers able to tackle major research and societal challenges.

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