Activation of small molecules on perovskites

Context & Job description

Project Title: Activation of small molecules on perovskites- correlation between dopants, structural defects and reactivity

You will join the ESRF (contact: Pieter Glatzel) and the ILL (contact: Stanislav Savvin) to study in detail the structural evolution of different perovskites for CO- and methane oxidation.

Our catalysts have a ABO3-δ structure, and the catalytic performance depends on the chemical nature of the cations A and B, the oxygen deficiency as expressed by the δ and the impact of the noble metal (Pd/Pt, which can be inserted on the B-site or impregnated on the surface). We want to combine neutron diffraction to analyze in detail the oxygen ion lattice, and operando X-ray absorption and emission spectroscopy on beamline ID26 to understand the interaction of the noble metal with the B-site element (Fe, Mn, or Ti).

This PhD offers the unique possibility to analyze the catalyst with respect to both, the cation and the anion structure under in-situ conditions. The obtained information will be used to gain a general understanding on how to optimize these catalysts. A 3-month period at the industrial partner (Ceramic Synthesis and Functionalization Laboratory, joint unit between CNRS and Saint-Gobain, located at Saint-Gobain Research Provence) is foreseen to synthesize the catalysts.

Further information may be obtained from Pieter Glatzel (tel.: +33 (0)4 76 88 29-68, email: and from Stanislav Savvin ( +33 (0)4 76 20 78 05, email: and from Helena.Kaper (+33 (0)4 32 50 08 95

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
  • A background in X-Ray Spectroscopy, neutron/X-ray diffraction or heterogeneous catalysis would be an asset
  • Manual skills and rigorous attention to detail are essential in this work environment
  • Proficiency in English (A proof of upper-intermediate level would be advantageous and can be provided 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; Students without proof upper-intermediate level may still apply and their level of English will be checked during the interview).
  • 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 eligibility criteria according to the partner university requirements for PhD enrolment.

More details about the application procedure on

Working conditions

The successful candidate will be enrolled in the doctoral school of University Grenoble-Alpes and based full-time at the ESRF and ILL (Grenoble, France), other than a 3-month secondment (min.) at Saint-Gobain Research Provence (Cavaillon). 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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