The Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry (MMK) is one of the largest departments at the Faculty of Natural sciences with about 140 employees. The research activities of MMK are in the areas of Materials and Solid-state Chemistry focusing on different classes of materials; e.g. ceramics and glasses, self-assembled and porous materials, and soft matter. The work often encompasses synthesis, characterization by X-ray diffraction and electron microscopy, NMR studies, modelling with computer simulations of materials with a potential for various applications. Environmental aspects are an important part of the research activities.

Project description

Project title: In operando X-ray absorption spectroscopy on catalysts

The position will be associated with the project “Catalytic composites for sustainable synthesis” (CATSS) which comprises researchers from Stockholm University (SU) and the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). The project is supported by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg foundation (KAW), https://kaw.wallenberg.org/en.

The CATSS project aims to develop and study novel catalytic composites that use sustainable feedstocks such as CO2 and water for organic synthesis. CO and H2 will be generated from these feedstocks respectively, and subsequently will be reacted with organic materials to produce high-value organic compounds. The approach will eliminate hazards associated with the handling of these useful gases. CO and H2 will be generated by electrocatalysts, while the conversion of CO and H2 into high-value organic compounds will be performed by a separate product forming catalyst, such as various palladium species, anchored or embedded in nanoporous crystalline metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). In situ X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) experiments, including extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS), will be performed to study changes to the catalytic species in order to improve our understanding of the catalytic mechanisms. Data will be collected using a custom-made reactor that can be used to collect both XAS and X-ray diffraction data under catalytic or solvothermal conditions. The reactor has been developed by German and Swedish researchers within the MATsynCELL project (https://www.matsyncell.uni-kiel.de/index.html). We plan to perform in situ XAS experiments at the synchrotron radiation facilities PETRA III (Hamburg, Germany) and MAX IV (Lund, Sweden).

Main responsibilities

The successful candidate will be responsible for the collection and interpretation of EXAFS data, on metal or metal complex catalysts, and should already be able to perform such tasks rather independently. The candidate is expected to work as part of a team of researchers in the CATSS project, including those with a background in organic chemistry and catalysis. The candidate will also be expected to be active in educating other researchers in XAS techniques. The ideal candidate is a self-motivated person with a passion for solving challenging scientific problems. Previous experience with metal-organic frameworks or in operando characterization is not required.

Qualification requirements

Postdoctoral positions are appointed primarily for purposes of research. Applicants are expected to hold a Swedish doctoral degree or an equivalent degree from another country. Applicants should have a PhD degree in Chemistry, Physics, Materials Sciences, Chemical Engineering or a related field, with strong background and extensive experience in X-ray absorption spectroscopy techniques.

Assessment criteria

The degree should have been completed no more than three years before the deadline for applications. An older degree may be acceptable under special circumstances, which may involve sick leave, parental leave, clinical attachment, elected positions in trade unions, or similar.

In the appointment process, special attention will be given to research skills in particular in connection with the research areas mentioned above.

Applicants must have strong communication skills with excellent knowledge in English, both written and spoken. The candidate should be able to work independently as well as in collaboration with other researchers to achieve common goals. The candidate should have strong collaborative and communication skills, and is self-motivated and a good team player.

Terms of employment

The fellowship refers a full-time scholarship for one year at MMK, with the possibility of extension for a second year. Start date 2018-04-01 or as per agreement.

Stockholm University strives to be a workplace free from discrimination and with equal opportunities for all.

Contact

For more information please contact Dr. A. Ken Inge, andrew.inge@mmk.su.se, telephone: +46 (0)72 147 4427.

For general information about MMK please contact Prof. Gunnar Svensson (Head of the Department), gunnar.svensson@mmk.su.se, telephone: +46 8 16 4505.

Union representatives

Anqi Lindblom-Ahlm (Saco-S) and Lisbeth Häggberg (Fackförbundet ST and Lärarförbundet), telephone: +46 8 16 20 00 (operator), and seko@seko.su.se (SEKO).

Application

Please submit applications by email directly to Dr. A. Ken Inge, andrew.inge@mmk.su.se.

Please include the following information with your application

  • Your contact details and personal data

  • Your highest degree

  • Your language skills

  • Contact details for 2–3 references

and, in addition, please include the following documents

  • Cover letter

  • CV – degrees and other completed courses, work experience and a list of publications

  • Research proposal (no more than 3 pages) describing:
    – why you are interested in the field/project described in the advertisement
    – why and how you wish to complete the project
    – what makes you suitable for the project in question

  • Copy of PhD diploma

  • Letters of recommendation (no more than 3 files)

  • Publications in support of your application (no more than 3 files).