PhD position - Investigation of Dye - Surfactant Solution Mixtures

Context & Job description

Project title: Investigation of the Solution Behavior of Dissociative Direct Dyes in the Presence of Surfactants at variable pH and Salinity.

You will work on a research project on the impact of surfactants on the solution behavior of dyes in aqueous solution at variable pH and at different amounts of metal cations. SAXS may help to analyse the impact of cations on the solution behavior of dyes. The focus of the work will lie on SANS with its technique of contrast variation by varying the D2O/H2O ratio, which shall be applied to investigate the morphology of the micelles loaded with dyes and the distribution of the dye molecules within the mixed aggregates.

A circulating system connecting the SANS cell at the beam line with a chamber with hair and a UV-vis spectrometer will be developed in order to analyse the uptake and release of the dyestuffs incorporated into surfactant micelles at variable pH and contents of metal cations and relate the information with the in-situ measured morphology of the mixed micelles.

To this end, you will join the D11 team at the ILL but you will do complementary SAXS experiments at the ID02 beamline at the ESRF. Accordingly, you will have to handle complex instruments, like detailed data refinement and analysis with physical models. You also have skills in sample preparation and you will contribute to the development of on-site devices at the beamline to improve the nature of the recorded data.

Further information may be obtained from Ralf Schweins (email: and from Klaus Huber (email:

Expected profile

  • 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
  • A background in soft condensed matter research is desirable, and knowledge of scattering techniques such as light scattering and small-angle neutron and/or x-ray scattering would be an advantage
  • Manual skills and rigorous attention to detail are essential in this work environment
  • 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).
  • 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 programme

More details about the application procedure on

Working conditions

The successful candidate will be enrolled in the doctoral school of the University of Paderborn (Germany) and based full-time at the ILL (Grenoble, France), other than a 3-month secondment to Kao European Headquarters (Darmstadt, Germany). Additional visits totaling no more than 3 months may be made to the University when needed. Furthermore, a varied pedagogical training programme 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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