PhD position: atomic layer deposition for CO2 hydrogenation catalysts

PhD position: atomic layer deposition for CO2 hydrogenation catalysts

Published Deadline Location
1 Feb 20 Mar Delft

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We are seeking a highly motivated PhD student to work on stable CO2 hydrogenation catalysts using atomic layer deposition.

Job description

Within the endeavour of the energy transition, it is essential to develop new technologies and to ensure further opportunities for the chemical industry in the field of CO2 capture and utilization: in this way, crucial feedstock chemicals can still be produced without contributing to the greenhouse effect. Conversion of CO2 into useful bulk chemicals can be performed using light (photochemically), power (electrochemically) of heat (thermochemically) combined with appropriate catalysts. In this project, we focus on thermocatalytic CO2 conversion as it is closest to maturation. The long-term stability of catalyst systems that are used in this conversion route is still a major challenge. In that respect it is important to fundamentally understand what causes instability of catalyst systems, which deactivation mechanisms play a role, and to identify leads to mitigate instability.

In this project, you will contribute to solving the stability challenges! In our group, one PhD position is available. As a future PhD student, you will deploy novel thin film technology – especially on atomic layer deposition (ALD) – to make novel catalytic structures that are tailored to have a greater stability than standard catalysts. ALD is a gas phase method with atomic precision that can both be applied to deposit catalytic materials as well as for forming protective layers on catalysts.

The PhD project is carried out at the Chemical Engineering department of TU Delft, in the Product & Process Engineering group under the guidance of prof. Ruud van Ommen. You will work together with our project partners at Utrecht University and Shell. The emphasis in the Delft project is on deploying ALD and related techniques for making stable catalysts. In addition to experimental work, you will also develop models to elucidate the degradation mechanisms. You will collaborate with a PhD student in the group of prof. Petra de Jongh (Utrecht University) for testing the catalysts and studying them with e.g. in-situ TEM. The project in part of the national research center ARC CBBC (, and in Delft you will also be part of the e-Refinery institute (    


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)


We are looking for a candidate that meets the following criteria:

  • MSc degree in a relevant field (preferably in Chemical Engineering or a related discipline)
  • Creative, open-minded and proactive;
  • Excellent experimental and analytical skills;
  • Good team player;
  • Good English communication and writing skills.
  • Preferred qualifications:
  • Prior experience with atomic layer deposition, or a related coating technology
  • Prior experience with catalytic conversions
  • Prior experience with modelling in the field of chemical engineering (transport phenomena / catalysis / chemical reaction engineering)

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Conditions of employment

Fixed-term contract: 4 years (1,5 year initial + 2,5 year after go/no-go evaluation).

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2770 per month in the first year to € 3539 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. 

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.


Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!


Faculty Applied Sciences

With more than 1,100 employees, including 150 pioneering principal investigators, as well as a population of about 3,600 passionate students, the Faculty of Applied Sciences is an inspiring scientific ecosystem. Focusing on key enabling technologies, such as quantum- and nanotechnology, photonics, biotechnology, synthetic biology and materials for energy storage and conversion, our faculty aims to provide solutions to important problems of the 21st century. To that end, we educate innovative students in broad Bachelor's and specialist Master's programmes with a strong research component. Our scientists conduct ground-breaking fundamental and applied research in the fields of Life and Health Science & Technology, Nanoscience, Chemical Engineering, Radiation Science & Technology, and Engineering Physics. We are also training the next generation of high school teachers.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Applied Sciences.


  • PhD
  • Engineering
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • TUD04976


Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)

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Mekelweg 2, 2628 CD, Delft

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