PhD student BM05

Context & Job description

Subject: Stinging and piercing with and without metal – unveiling the role of chitin arrangement and inorganic additives in arthropods

You will work with a novel, custom-made X-ray instrument equipped with a special energy-dispersive area detector (X-ray colour microscope) to perform research on the structure and elemental composition of chitinous hard parts in arthropods. For this purpose, you will carry out experiments in the lab and at the synchrotron. Furthermore, it is expected that you collaborate at implementing the instrument at the beamline at ESRF and develop evaluation algorithms for the special energy dispersive data format.

You will first be seconded to the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU) to familiarize yourself with the instrument and subject matter, while defining experimental and data analysis protocols. You will collaborate closely with project partners from TU Wien. During the second half of your thesis, you will return to the ESRF and join the BM05 team. Beamline BM05 serves industrial clients performing topography and tomography. At BM05 you will implement the instrument on the beamline and have the opportunity to perform sub-micron resolution tomography of the samples.

Your doctoral degree will be awarded by BOKU. Further information may be obtained from Phil Cook (tel.: +33 (0)4 76 88 21 15, email: or Helga Lichtenegger, Institute of Physics and Materials Science, BOKU (tel. +43 (0)47654 89211, email:

Expected profile

  • Degree allowing enrolment for a PhD (such as MSc, Master 2 de Recherche, Laurea or equivalent) in chemistry, physics, materials science or closely related science
  • Experience with (bio)materials characterization and/or x-ray diffraction would be an advantage
  • Instrumentation and laboratory skills (handling delicate samples and equipment, engineering)
  • Mathematical skills; experience with programming in Python would be useful
  • Highly dedicated to scientific work
  • Team player, ability to work independently
  • Proficiency in French and/or German could be useful but is not required
  • Proficiency in English (working language at the ESRF)

Working conditions

2-year contract, renewable 1 year.

We offer a comprehensive benefits package designed to support your quality of life and your installation in the Grenoble area when relocation is needed.
The monthly salary may be complemented by additional allowances upon eligibility (expatriation allowance, etc.).

Company description

The European Synchrotron, the ESRF, is an international research centre based in Grenoble, France.

Through its innovative engineering, pioneering scientific vision and a strong commitment from its 700 staff members, the ESRF is recognised as one of the top research facilities worldwide. Its particle accelerator produces intense X-ray beams that are used by thousands of scientists each year for experiments in diverse fields such as biology, medicine, environmental sciences, cultural heritage, materials science, and physics.

Supported by 22 countries, the ESRF is an equal opportunity employer and encourages diversity.

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