We are looking for a Postdoctoral Researcher who will study the synthesis and electrochemical performance of nanosized metal particles produced by exposing thin metal films to high temperatures, a process known as "metal dewetting". Dewetting thin metal films on electrode surfaces produces "monolayers" of metal particles with tunable loading, size, distribution, crystal orientation and composition. This reduces the electrode complexity and makes it possible to decouple the effects of relevant factors (e.g., nanoparticles' size, crystal orientation, composition) on the electrochemical response. Moreover, using flat electrode geometries allows to minimize mass transport limitations, and provides accessibility for probing the electrode/electrolyte interface under operating conditions.
The tasks you will perform include:
- Synthesize nanoparticles on electrode surfaces by metal dewetting.
- Use ultra-high vacuum techniques (magnetron sputtering), to deposit nm-thick metal films on electrically conductive substrates.
- Optimize the sputtering and thermal treatment conditions to tune the nanoparticles' loading, size, distribution, crystal orientation and composition.
- Characterize the electrodes by ex-situ and in-situ techniques including XRD, SEM, TEM, XRR, AFM, XPS, XAS, among others.
- Study the electrochemical response of the electrodes in model reactions (HER, hydrogenation of ketones, reduction of nitrates) by electrochemical techniques such as CV, LSV, stripping voltammetry (ECSA - Hupd, COads, Cuupd), RDE, EIS, among others.
- Update the research team on the scientific results and project progress on a regular basis and represent the team at conferences.
- Help supervise PhD and undergrad students.
- Contribute to educational activities of the group (e.g., assist in lecturing, tutorials, lab courses).
This project is part of the Dutch initiative "ElectroChemical Conversion and Materials" (ECCM), funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO). Innovative electrochemistry and materials science are crucial towards the integration of electrolysis, sustainable hydrogen and green chemicals in the energy system and large-scale chemical processes. Tentative start date of the project is 1 November 2022.